Do-ocracy

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Do-ocracy is a decentralized, anarchist way of deciding and managing how things get changed, and is the main way that things get done at Noisebridge.

It can be summed up as follows:

Do-ocracy: If you want something done, do it, but remember to be excellent to each other when doing so.

Do it posters
Doers decide posters

Do-ocracy applies to almost everything at Noisebridge, with only a few consensus exceptions (often described as very big deep changes to Noisebridge as an organization). If you think it'd be cool to build something out of some parts in the Parts Repository, the tables should be re-arranged, or a new workshop should be built, you should do it! But remember to be excellent.

How to do Do-ocracy

There are no formal rules to Do-ocracy, but here are some tips for smooth functioning Do-ocracy. Don't feel obliged to do any of them.


Be accountable

If you make a change that isn't terribly easy to undo, such as moving a projector, or which has impacts that can't be undone, such as putting a video on the projector that's potentially triggering of epilepsy, it's good to be accountable to those impacted by the change. Make sure that people know who made the change, so that they can clarify what's going on and how they're impacted. Write notes, post in Slack or on the mailing list, make announcements in person. Let people know you're responsible for your change.

Don't be afraid to step on people's toes

Sometimes you'll make a change Do-ocratically and someone will be unhappy with it. That's ok. Stepping on toes is fine. But what's usually not fine is not being willing to talk to the person about the change, so it's best to be willing to resolve the problems that it may have caused.

Use little-c consensus

If you're concerned that a change may be a little too impactful to just do, and you want to make sure it's ok to do, speak to the people who are likely to be impacted. Be willing to find outcomes that everyone can live with.

Don't use an either/or approach

If the particular thing you want to do isn't ok, either before or after the fact, explore other options. Try to achieve everyone's end goals, while being flexible with how you get there. It's often not the case that your only options are Do What You Want To Do vs. Do What They Want To Do. Usually you can find some other, third path to things which everyone can live with.

Be compassionate

Because it really sucks to have one's project trashed, or a workshop turned inside out by a project, or the like, you may find that you've Do-ocratically done something that makes someone irritated. While it's not Excellent for them to be aggressive or hostile, you should expect that they may be upset. Be patient and compassionate.

Don't be a dick

Even tho it really sucks to have one's project trashed, or a workshop turned inside out by a project, or the like, don't be a dick to the person who did it. Aggression and hostility are widely considered Unexcellent and you may find yourself asked to leave if you can't keep that under control. Instead of immediately talking to person who made the change, take some time to think about the situation. Drink some herbal tea, smoke some weed, go for a jog. Give your limbic system time to relax.

Do-er's Decide, Non-Do-er's Stand Aside

If you're not willing or able to put in the time or effort to hack, don't stand in the way of the people who are are. If you have opinions, be willing to hack. Offering advice is fine, but it's usually good to ask if it's wanted, and if not, don't give it.

Fictionalized Examples

The Short Version

  1. Fizz asks around if anyone would feel negative about the bike shed being pink. No one does.
  2. Fizz paints the bike shed pink.

The Being Excellent To Each Other Version

  1. Fizz paints the bike shed pink.
  2. Buzz becomes unhappy about the fact that the bike shed she helped build is now pink.
  3. Buzz politely engages Fizz in discussion about why they thought this was ok. Fizz realized that other people they share the space with have feelings too.
  4. Buzz and Fizz decide to repaint the bike shed blue.

Related ideas about do-ocracy


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Manual | Visitors | Participation | Excellence | Do-ocracy | Consensus | Standards | Outreach | Operations | Cleaning | Edit | Cat