Greeter Committee

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Having Greeters at the door to welcome people has worked very well at hackerspaces around the world.

The purpose of the Greeter Committee is to create a system and processes that welcome everyone to Noisebridge who would like to see how Noisebridge can benefit them and how they can contribute to Noisebridge, thus attracting people who belong at Noisebridge.

In addition, the purpose is to keep out people who do not belong at Noisebridge.

Being a greeter

Familiarize yourself with the following

Meeting notes: Monday, 1-Sep-2014


Alex Alekseynko, Alex Troy, Dan, J, Jade, Mitch, Monad, Scotty, Torrie, Torrey


We discussed scenarios of people visiting Noisebridge -- both people who belong, and people who don't belong at Noisebridge. We also discussed scenarios where it wasn't really clear.

I gave an example tour of Noisebridge, where others played guests visiting for the first time. Alex Troy video-ed this example:
Example Noisebridge Tour video
Scotty also transcribed this video:
Example Noisebridge Tour transcription
Scotty also created a general outline of how to give a Noisebridge Tour:
How to give a tour of Noisebridge

Giving a tour of Noisebridge is a great way for everyone who comes to Noisebridge to find out what Noisebridge is about, and what it is not about. This passes on knowledge of the culture of Noisebridge to everyone, so the culture stays alive and vibrant over time.

After the example tour, we did role playing, where different people took turns acting out scenarios where a Greeter meets a visitor (some who belong, some who don't belong, and some who aren't quite clear).

Meeting notes: Tuesday, 26-Aug-2014


Alex Alekseynko, Alex Troy, Dan, J, Jade, Mitch, Monad, Rayc, Scotty, Torrie


To begin discussion of implementation of Greeters and open/closed hours, we started by reading the meeting notes from last weeks Greeter Committee meeting, which was a summary of what why we need Greeters, open/closed hours, and the basic ideas of how the Greeters will work.

All agreed that what we just read was is a really good start, and that we need to work on some specifics, which we'll address as we move along.

All Greeters will have RFID cards (or their Clipper card, if they have one), so they can open and close Noisebridge using Henner's system (once it is implemented).

We also agreed that Greeters have some power that can be abused, and therefore there needs to be means of redress for when Greeters mess up, as all people do from time to time. It must be made publicly known that Greeters are human, and will mess up, and that Greeters all want to cop to their shit, and make it right (even if it's not always easy).

We brainstormed ideas for how to schedule Greeters' shifts so that Greeters don't burn out, don't feel overburdened with responsibility to the point where they will drift away if they miss a shift, but still feel enough responsibility to keep their shifts filled. We talked about a way cool system would be great to have: a system that learns Greeters' schedule of times when they are at Noisebridge, and then automatically asks them if they would like to be a Greeter at times when they are likely to be at Noisebridge. But, to start things off, we will keep it simple, and use Doodle to choose 4-hour shifts so that there are Greeters at the door of Noisebridge for all hours for which Noisebridge is open to the public.

To distinguish Greeters at a glance, we decided to have special blue T-shirts. It would also be nice at some point in the future to have some geeky name badge as well.

Since one of the roles of Greeters is handling problem situations, we talked about how to train ourselves to be well prepared for handling problem situations, and decided to have the first role-playing sessions this coming Monday at 7pm. (We chose Monday instead of Tuesday because Mitch is leaving town for 3 weeks starting next Tuesday.)

The agenda for the upcoming Monday Greeters Committee meeting 1-Sept-2014, 7:00pm:

  • Role playing problem situations so that we are all are as prepared as possible for various problem situations.
  • Collect T-shirt sizes for the special Blue Greeter T-shirts.
  • Start a Doodle for the first week's Greeter shift schedule.
  • And maybe pick a date to start Greeters at the door (along with open/closed hours)?

Meeting notes: Tuesday, 19-Aug-2014

The Greeter Committee meeting was an agenda item, and took place as the last part of the weekly Tuesday Noisebridge membership meeting.

The reason we need Greeters:

  • Greeters work great at hackerspaces around the world.
  • Greeters give a warm welcome to everyone who comes to the space.
  • Greeters ensure that everyone who comes to the space knows what Noisebridge is about, and what Noisebridge is not about.
  • Greeters keep people out who do not belong at Noisebridge.
  • Greeters are point people in case of a problem.

The biggest problems Noisebridge has faced come from people being in the space who don't belong.

People who do not belong at Noisebridge:

People who come to merely use Noisebridge without contributing (and/or who are disruptive) to Noisebridge and our community. These people don't fit in with the culture of Noisebridge, make inappropriate comments and actions towards women and others, steal, and detract rather than contribute to Noisebridge. The net result is that people who do belong at Noisebridge drift away from Noisebridge.

People who do belong at Noisebridge:

Anyone and everyone, regardless of any other qualities, who want to benefit from and contribute to Noisebridge and our community, and who strive to fit in with our collective culture without being disruptive to our community.

Some results of people being in the space who don't belong:
  • theft
  • inappropriate comments and behavior towards women and others
  • dilution of our community
  • loss of people who do belong
  • increase of people who do not belong
  • lack of continuity due to people at the space not knowing what the space is about, since no one has passed along this info
  • lack of empowerment for people in the community, who don't know that they can and should do cool things (as well as telling others when they are not being excellent, and when they are).

Here is the basic idea of the Greeters:

Noisebridge is only open when there is at least one Greeter at the door (though, ideally we want 2 at all times).

Greeters become Greeters by being vetted by the Greeter Committee. This includes training on conflict resolution, mediation, and role playing to effectively handle dealing with problematic people who need to be shown the door.

Greeters will welcome everyone who comes to Noisebridge, and if they don't know the person, make sure they know what Noisebridge is about, and what it isn't about, and about our code of conduct. If the person is new, they get a tour of Noisebridge.

It is up to the Greeter to use their judgement as to whether someone should not be let in to Noisebridge. New people may be asked to leave either before or after they get a tour of Noisebridge. Banned people will be kept out. Tweakers and drunks will be kept out.

The last Greeter ensures that no one stays in Noisebridge who is not a Member of Noisebridge in good standing, or a guest that a Member in good standing (who must be present) takes full personal responsibility for. A guest can be anyone -- as long as there is a Member in good standing who is present and will take full responsibility for them.

During hours that Noisebridge isn't open to the public, we are only open to Members in good standing and their guests.

Meeting notes: Tuesday, 12-Aug-2014

Greeters & Noisebridge Open Hours

It's up to Greeters to welcome people to Noisebridge,
give tours of Noisebridge for new people (including showing them what Noisebridge is about, and what it is not about, including activities and conduct). Greeters also keep people out who don't belong at Noisebridge. This filters unpleasant noise at the earliest stage.

  • Greeters are also the point person for people at Noisebridge to go to when there is a problem in the space

Noisebridge will have hours when we are open to the public
and hours when Noisebridge is only open to Members in good standing and their guests.

  • A possible start for Open Hours: 8am to 11pm (if we can have enough Greeters to commit to shifts during these hours)
  • Noisebridge is only open to the public when there is at least one Greeter at the door
  • When Noisebridge is not open to the public, only Members in good standing and their guests are allowed in Noisebridge
  • Before the last Greeter of the night leaves, they go around and ensure that only Members in good standing and their guests remain in the space

How do we decide who belongs at Noisebridge and who doesn't?

  • Need to be contributing to and benefitting from Noisebridge
  • Zero tolerance for intolerant people
  • Must be willing to change behavior when people in the Noisebridge community see their behavior as unexcellent
  • Greeters will need to use their judgment
  • (this topic needs more discussion)
  • If someone rings the bell when Noisebridge is not open to the public, then any Member in good standing can (if they want to -- but there is no obligation for anyone to do so) let them in as their guest, but only if the Member is willing to take personal responsibility for that person for as long as the person is in the space (and the Member must ask the person to leave if the Member leaves the space -- or find another Member to take personal responsibility for the person as their guest)

Who is the ideal Noisebridge person? There are many ways that people can be excellent at Noisebridge.

  • Attends a class
  • Teaches a class that people like
  • Works on cool projects
  • Idea: create some cartoon avatars of several examples of ideal Noisebridge community people (as a fun way to give examples to people on what is excellent)

We need Greeters who are:

  • Respected by the community
  • Not liable to power-trip
  • Able to read people
  • Able to be assertive when necessary
  • Willing to take responsibility when they mess up

We need a formalized process for vetting new Greeters:

  • Nomination of people for the role
  • Background check
  • Training process (including role-playing sessions)

We need a way to identify Members in good standing -- perhaps:

  • Treasurer gives Greeters updated list of Members in good standing each week (check against photo ID if the Greeter is unsure)
  • RFID cards for Members
  • NFC on phone can check RFID cards
  • Multiple methods would be ideal

Where do we go from here?

  • We'll have some set open hours: 8-11 is a good target to start with
  • It would be ideal to have two Greeters here at a time, each with 4-hour, overlapping shifts (this would also be a good way to vet new Greeters, if a new Greeter is always overlapping with an experienced Greeter)
  • If there is at least one Greeter at the door (preferably 2 Greeters), we can keep Noisebridge open to the public.
  • When Noisebridge is not open to the public, a Member needs to step up to take the visitor under their wing as their guest, and be personally responsible for them for as long as they are in the space (and the Member must be present at the space while their guest is in the space).


  • List of people who are banned (preferably with pictures)
  • Wiki page describing the responsibilities of the Greeters
  • Card with an outline of what Noisebridge is about (and not about)
  • A few fictitious "profiles" to illustrate the ideal noisebridge-er(?)