Useful Notes Mensa Discussion

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Shishkahuben
Topic
02:04:01 PM Jan 24th 2016
This page, as a whole, reads somewhat strangely. It's somewhere between the first post on a forum thread and an informational pamphlet, reading like the author is a member themselves and trying to introduce readers to "the world that awaits them." Similarly, there's a lot of condescension and some frankly unfortunate phrasing that comes off as mean spirited and offensive in places. I don't want to go down the page and hack out bits I don't like, because that would make me no better, but I feel like the page could do with some TLC.
alchemy3083
06:26:32 PM Jan 25th 2016
It sounds a lot like something written by a high school student sucked into Mensa and trying to justify his/her choice.

I think what makes the article troublesome is that most people reading it might draw the conclusion that Mensa is a respected organization whose membership is made up of the intellectual elite. In fact, most of the "intellectual elite" (that is, 99% of the statistically likely sample of qualifying MENSA members in the USA, as an example) do not have good opinions of Mensa. "Smart people" do not in aggregate think themselves a homogenous group and Mensa does not speak for them. Putting "Mensa member" on your resume will almost always hurt you, not because the interviewer is intimidated by your intelligence, but because it's meaningless, and the fact you think this meaningless fact is impressive does not speak well for your judgment.

Most smart people apply themselves and become teachers or professors or engineers or artists or lawyers or accountants or all sorts of other things, and their senses of self-worth come from their work, not the fact they had a certain measurement of academic potential according to IQ tests taken as children.

Mensa tells the story that having a high IQ is something inherently special, something they deserve praise for, and something that separates them from everyone else, and it is only natural for them to have poor social skills.

But most people with high I Qs find their intelligence as an unearned gift, something they feel obligated to make good use of, and don't feel an IQ score is the sort of shared background that is worthy of socializing over. People socialize based on shared backgrounds and interests: in professional conferences, and in tournaments for video games and chess and Pokeman and what have you. In that context, Mensa is an intellectual a cop-out; someone with a high IQ joining a club about having high I Qs, as opposed to finding some passion about something, and doing the hard work to use that high IQ to become an expert at the subject of this passion, is not admirable.

I'm sure there's a middle ground but I think the complete irrelevance of Mensa in higher learning is pretty important to get across.

In any case, this is a ridiculously long article, with at least half the items being near-zero-content "stuff people do."
pittsburghmuggle
Topic
10:01:39 PM Mar 12th 2012
Okay folks. Filled it out as well as I could, though I'm sure I'll be tweaking. Any other Tropers who are Mensa members (I know you're out there - obsessed with a subject, constantly editing... suuure you're not smart!) I'm looking forward to any edits you may make.

My own background in Mensa: I joined at the age of ten, after my parents divorced. My whole family qualifies, though right now I'm the only active member. Was busy in Maumee Valley Mensa (Toledo, Ohio) until I was 12, then we moved to Pittsburgh. I dropped out at 16, and rejoined two years ago at the age of 36.
Yora
09:24:09 AM Apr 23rd 2012
I think this page needs a cleanup. It sounds way to much like being written by an apologetic member trying to convince readers "we are not stuck up snobs, really!" The list of tropes that apply to the organization should be a lot shorter and only contain things that are really important. It shouldn't read like an advertisement that tells people how much fun they would have.
pittsburghmuggle
09:52:26 PM May 27th 2012
edited by pittsburghmuggle
Right off the bat, thank you for giving me some criticism on this page. I've needed it. I know several other tropers who are in Mensa, and have asked them to look this page over and do any fixes. They've contacted me back saying the page is fine.

It's a Useful Notes page, there to educate and illuminate. It shows what you would see inside the organization, and how the members interact within it. The opener gives all the nuts and the bolts, expresses what the chances of qualifying are and then uses the tropes to illustrate what it's like inside. You can go check it out, too - contact your local chapter and ask about it. see if you have a friend involved who will take you to an event.

As for "being written by an apologetic member trying to convince readers 'we are not stuck up snobs, really!'" have you SEEN some of the things people say about Mensa on the Internet? People gripe about elitism and what a stupid idea of a club it is without even taking the time to read about it. Then you have people like those parents who had their daughter tested at two - then drag her on the Today show. Today show doesn't even explain Mensa or its three stated purposes, they just say "The high-IQ group". Even the news doesn't want to get into details about Mensa - because they're boring. Honestly, Mensa can be a lot of fun - at issue is it's a tool. You get out of it what you put in. Being a non-profit it's mostly run by volunteers at the local level.

Not to mention, Mensa is really a teeny-tiny group. I hope you read the part where I said 2% of the USA is 6 million - and only 57,000 are in Mensa. Honestly, I don't see what all the fuss and grief is about out there. The non-members who qualify well outnumber the members. Mensans are just people who want to spend time with other like-minded people, not beat on the dumb folks.

So thank you for your critique, it is duly noted and I've been tinkering in the article with that point on my mind.

HotelDon
08:19:58 PM May 15th 2013
I'm not really feeling the Lego analogy you've got inserted into there. The analogy you're using kinda falls apart when you remember that IQ tests are quantitative (how intelligent are you?) as opposed to qualitative (what kind of intelligent are you?), and Lego shapes differ qualitatively.
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/remarks.php?trope=UsefulNotes.Mensa