Meeting Notes 2014 10 14

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These are the notes from the The 330th Meeting of Noisebridge.

Moderator: Rayc Note taker: User:Patrickod


  • Dave - Visiting from hackerspace charlotte. Brought a gift of a placard. Works w/ arduinos and rpis. Stopping by to say hi!
  • POD - Visiting the bay area from Berlin. Lived here through the 90s. Back touring a project called Citizen Keno, media and cinema hacking project
  • N0_Hat - Currently with hat. Hacking on inter-social engineering project called Project Root. Looking at the root of problems in hackerspaces and how to address them
  • Jade - I like psychology and Python, CS and Java too.
  • Daniel - Working w/ N0_hat. I like languages and learning them, seeing how they operate
  • Tallas Murray - Just moved to the area, saw the website and wanted to check it out. Hacks on windows servers buts wants to learn something new.
  • Mitch - Helped co-found NB a long time ago. Most recently organizing a trip to China. Helping them hack their own education system.
  • Patrick - Software engineering working on real-world things. Looking to help w/ infrastructure and other necessities in NB
  • Monad - Tinkers around here
  • Mike - Started working on creating "tinker-hack". Do useful science w/ consumer objects. Taking science and giving it a good public image.
  • James - Organizing the party on November 22nd. Music, food, drinks and LED goodness.
  • Torrie - C++ engineer, who also gets printers working.
  • Patrick - Software engineer, who likes data visualization and computer graphics
  • Rayc - Asks questions and tries to get things working. Moderating.
  • Marcell - Web developer involved in 3d printing. Got involved because of exposure at NB. Now trying to make the 3D printers in NB work again.

What is this Noisebridge thing?

Torrie - NB is a space for hacking, whichever hacking that might be. A place you can come, work on projects, make cool things and meet interesting people as long as you follow the rule of being excellent to each other.

Mitch - And contribute!

Torrie - Yep and contributions too please.

Rayc - We're led by "do-ocracy" which involves doing things that are good. Ask if you think it'll cause people to have issues otherwise go ahead.

N0_hat - taking things apart, learning and re-constructing it in a cool way.


Mitch - We need a treasurer. Discussing the possibility of hiring one. If we wait too long, like another week or two we could be in trouble. There are also banking issues that need attending. "Treasurer and Banking issues"

N0_hat - Social engineering "Project root"

Rayc - Status of reboot

Marcell - Space for 3D printing and tools

POD - BACH feedback


Torrie - So we have a printer now. Missing a panel right now but we have it. Purchased with my own monies. There's an RPI going into it to make it a network printer. Please be gentle with it or I'll be very sad and we all don't want that.

Mitch - Keep Torrie happy!

Membership Binder

Mitch - Membership is a pretty easy thing at NB. It's a process though. You don't have to be a member to do anything, but if you are a member then you commit to financially supporting NB either $80 or $40 a month. The sole benefit is full participation in the consensus process. Everyone is welcome to be a part of the process. Only members have to be happy for it to proceed. Recently NB has open and closing hours. Only members and their guests may stay during closed hours. A guest is anyone that a member takes full responsibility for while they're in the space. To be a member you fill out a form in the binder. You say your name, why you want to be a member and then hang out with us for a while. Over that while, at least 4 weeks minimum we get to know you and vice versa. You get 2 members in good standing to sign your sheet and then after those 4 weeks you ask to me a member. If noone objects you get to pay the treasurer and then be a member.

Chris - I'll resubmit my membership application in due course as it seems to have been lost.

Mitch - Right now we have a few applications. Daniel Lewis. Is he here? No.

Rayc - I'll email him about it.

Mitch - 8 weeks now in the binder. One person knows Daniel. He needs to come by to get to know people. Next: Tristan Mosley. Torrie Fischer. Got kicked out of a hackerspace for contributing! Has one sponsor (Mitch).

Monad - I'll sign that for Torrie

Mitch - That's it for the binder.

rayc - if you're interested in membership check out the binder.

Financial Report

Torrie - Paid the electricians. A $15k cheque. After that we have 34k which is much over the 3 months operating.

Patrick - IIRC noisetor pays ~75% of its monthly expenses w/ recurring donations. The $10k donation from DDG will last a while

Consensus Items

Rayc - Anyone can propose a consensus item for future meetings. They go through a 2 week period of discussion after which they come up for consensus. They get discussed this week and next and we'll discuss them now. Everyone has input on the discussion, but only members can participate in letting them go through.

Mitch - Consensus: In consensus process, an item is brought up as a proposal and the community discusses it. If everyone agrees then it proceeds. Any objects cause it to be discussed until everyone agrees. In a healthy consensus process there are no blocks, only further discussions. A block is the last resort of the consensus process. It effectively means "I can no longer in good conscience be a member of this community should this item pass". You are obliged to explain your objection in the consensus process and provide an alteration such that you and others are happy w/ the item to proceed. Blocking because you're having a bad day is unexcellent and your block will not be counted. If, however, you explain fully your objection and suggest an alteration then that's ok, it gets discussed. The proposal continues to be discussed until everyone agrees that it should proceed, or that it should not be discussed further.

No_Hat - What about proxy blocks?

Mitch - Not excellent. You can't just come to object or send an email to just object. You have to say why and suggest an alteration that'd make the proposal acceptable to you and others.

No-Hat - Always like this?

Mitch - Nope consensus degraded to where this wasn't common practice. Thus the reboot

Rayc - Can't just send emails to say you'll block everything.

Proposals from last week

There were none

Consensus items for this week

Striking all members from the roles - Rebooting membership @ noisebridge

Rayc - Current consensus items. First one proposed by Naomi: "Striking all members at Noisebridge - Reboot membership at Noisebridge"

Mitch - The idea is tehre are are a bunch of people who are members at noisebridge, but the list is out of date due to not having an active treasurer. There are many people who are members who are not involved in Noisebridge. They've not been involved and if we can clear the roles and start afresh then we can have more active members.

Alex - Question: If everyone is struck from the roles how can we get a quorum to reestablish members

Torrie - There exist old mailing list archives and wiki pages on how membership was bootstrapped before. It's happened once.

N0_Hat - What about some hybrid solution where you're a member if you're here for some amount of time and if not then you reapply.

Monad - I think we have really low membership numbers. We should increase it rather than start again. I feel embarrassed that there are so few members at any one point here when people come during the day.

Mitch - I don't see the need for this myself at this point, I'd like to hear from Naomi because I'm sure there's a lot of thought gone into this. I think we do need more members. I'm totally fine if people want to be members and support financially but not be here. That's kinda the original idea of membership, that someone wanted to contribute financially monthly.

NO_HAT - I'd like to hear Naomi's further thoughts too.

Torrie - My understanding is that this is meant to provoke discussion on problems we have, are they actually problems? What can be done to fix them when they do happen.

Mitch - What problems?

Torrie - This came up in discuss today. We have 40 or so people who have "stock options in a job that they don't show up for". The observed behavior is that people send in proxy blocks, some of which are bullshit. What does it mean to have 40-50 members that kinda show up every now and again?

Rayc - I feel that striking of membership, I don't think we'll get rid of membership, but what it's bringing up is definitely better. There are members who are still members of Noisebridge who moved away to different countries but still support it from abroad. The discussion should be "how do we get people involved and interested in the membership process?"

N0_HAT - I think the proxy issue is the main bottleneck to that. I think that because it's a large topic the social engineering group would like to take this on.

Daniel - I think it's a good item to start discussion. From what I hear so far, being a member is a finical contribution, in addition to being a contributing member. How would striking members affect money coming into NB? If it's about retirement of active members, it could be that if someone's not so active here while being a member then they'd be struck out here, but there could be "noisebridge members at heart"

Torrie - The email thread that Torrie referenced by Kevin, David Fine responded that he thought that Naomi sees a problem with emailed proxy blocks from members. David pointed out that if we can have a functional consensus process then we likely don't need this. I had a positive rant in consensus in response to this, basically what I said earlier RE consensus. You're obligated to be part of the discussion if you block. You can't just block without further discussion.

Monad - I think we can deal with the proxy blocks and solve the problem. There were also blocks from folks that did usually show up but that couldn't always make it.

Rayc - Sure. If a proxy block is a good thing in some circumstances then communicate it fully. Maybe there's a form of communication that you can bring to the community that makes this ok.

N0_HAT - I find one of the bottlenecks that comes up is our use of language. I hear that people feel left out and we always run out of time when discussing things. Maybe we should change how we're interacting w/ language, maybe some visual format.

Mitch - If a discussion item is taking too much time for a meeting then it's good for the facilitator to suggest a committee that continues the discussion offline to bring only recommendations to the meeting. One exception to an "empty" block that we discussed at BACH is the membership process. You don't have to fully know why you're blocking a new member. Every member has to feel really good about bringing on new members.

Torrie - Following on what we talked about at BACH. Blocking a membership is serious. When you bring someone in via membership you're essentially changing the community that you're bringing them into. It's a cultural thing that someone should understand why a reason is required for a block.

Ray - Time folks! We've been here 45 minutes.

Mitch - Let's move on.

Allocating funds for AV equipment

Mitch - Rubin put a lot of time into researching AV setups for the AV booth and the classrooms. We have money allocated from the IGG fund. We've paid off the electrician and we can now pay for other things.

Torrie - The spreadsheet has $1600 of stuff with, equipment, mounting equipment, a lock box for keeping things, Chromecast, Apple TVs, stuff for making streaming easy, audio and AV cables, etc etc.

James - I have a slightly different list w/ under 1k of stuff.

Torrie - He sent this mail on friday to build@ "The great AV revamp thread" The whole point of the crazy system is twofold. To make it as easy as possible for people to come to the space and use the equipment for classes and also to make it as hard as possible to disassemble.

Rayc - There's some functional equipment in the space. Let's figure out if we have duplicates first. For instance we have this projector that just needs a bulb and it has some neat connections.

Torrie - I'm in favour of allocating the funds.

James - I'm also in favour. We want to buy it at once, get it all together, schedule a day to install it and do it all at once. Rubin wants to take lead on it.

POD - I don't want to make it complicated because it sounds ready. But you guys are community education and you can get funds from other placse for ths. Maybe paying isn't the right idea.

Torrie - We got a lot of funding from IGG to do this. It might be cool to write letters to do it neat but we have the money

Alex - This sounds good, there should be a community to do this sort of outreach. if you want to spearhead it for sure go ahead.

Patrick - It's money donated to us in the IGG specifically for improving the space. I'm absolutely happy to see it spent.

Dave - I've done AV stuff before. The key to these sort of installations is always simplicity. It sounds like a good addition to the space

James - I think the nice thing to do with stuff in the space already is to get a mobile rig up and running in the space.

Rayc - This projector does wireless display from tablets. It's cool.

Bill - What happened to the NB logo projector?

Mitch - Got "Sid"ified.

Mitch - Sounds like it's the consensus of NB that we should allocate the funds to Rubin to get this done.

Discussion Items

We need a treasurer

Mitch I was the first treasuer for the first 18 months. The second treasurer dropped the ball and things got messed up. We haven't had an active treasurer for months. Torrie has been treasurer-esque even though she volunteed for secretary. There's no more checks, and we don't know the bank website password, and nobody knows where the bank ATM card is. We haven't been able to find one so I propose that we hire someone to do it. I've brought it up in the past but never pushed for it. A woman who's been doing accounting work for non-profits for years, Pat Smith, would be perfect for this. I'd like to have it discussed later.

Rayc - Is there a way that we can automate this?

Mitch - Not entirely but we can have software that makes it easier.

Nohat - software sounds good but the main thing that blocks this is responsibility.

Dave - Super short. We just did a reboot, kicked out all members because we were out of compliance. Top level membership was liable for everyone. We started afresh, and used the 3 core members to reboot and vote members in. We had an active treasurer who bought tax software and we use Paypal mainly for memberships which made things easier.

Marcel - There are plenty of folks who can make great software. There should be a central repository where we can start the process of making an ERP for noisebridge. Mitch - That'd be great. I'll give you some input if you want to do that.

Torrie - Something to add to that. I was the treasurer at my previous space. I used gnu cash and fully support the idea of hiring it out to someone becasue it's stressful. We had a django app that we used back in Acron what we used for this. We have a server that runs this for NB along with other things. Chat with us.

Banking Issues

Mitch - Really brief. Just to put it in the public record the folks on the bank account are not folks involved with Noisebridge. The only person with access to the savings account in SF is me. We need a field trip to Wells Fargo to get folks that need access to the accounts on.

Torrie - Could Pat come to a NB meeting in the future?

Mitch - Yep. We talked about doing it in house before but it's not working.

Dave - It'd be awesome if she could mentor folks under her. Clean the slate and get folks up and running.

Ethical social engineering

NoHat - Ethical social engineering is my answer to some observed problems in Noisebridge. Discussing it with folks it seemed to be a structural problem due to folks being forced into certain behaviors due to the way that it's designed. We're thinking of models in psychology that promote feedback loops such that we can see what effects we're having on people. Many times we reach consensus due to policital means and we neglect the emotion involved. We need to apply technology to human interaction.

James - I vote the meeting end and this conversation continue.

Alex - We're trying this greeter committee out and how folks should have an active role in the community. We're thinking that we can work w/ the greeter committee and how to get folks ready. How to get folks welcoming as possible but also having an immune system such that we can maintain what noisebridge is. It's a good opportunity to work w/ the greeter committee to hash this stuff out.

Reboot status

Rayc - I'm one of the core contributors on the physical level. The electician came in, we have some things left to do. Mainly installing outlets around the space as well as the emergency lights that run on a separate light. One at the library, one in the back of the space near bathrooms and then one in the middle maybe. We're going to be getting spot water on-demand heaters replacing the existing one. The electrical stuff has yet to be run for that. Neil's partner has sourced stuff. Construction wise there's still a bunch of sheetrocking, mudding and painting yet to be done. There's a list somewhere which elaborates all of this. Come talk to me about it if you're interested in it. Another thing about the reboot is that Neil and Tim suggested that we fill in the floor beneath where the DJ booth used to be, to close it out such that it can't be used as an exit. There's stuff that we could use, solder, hot glue, masking tape. Let's sit down and make a wish list.

Mitch - I can bring a bunch of stuff home from China. I can also mail stuff back cause shipping from China is cheap.

Rayc - Awesome. Let's continue this after the meeting. We're about 80% done with electrical, the rest is doocracy

Feedback on BACH

Mitch - Might be something that's making the meeting too long. It was fantastic. People from almost all the hackerspaces in the bay area. People making cool things.

Rayc - Notes are online, good to see dialog and constructive work.

Mitch - It's ongoing, there will be more.

Rayc - There will be notes online at

Mitch - There's also photos on my flickr account.

POD - I'm writing an article on it. One session that really was inspiring was the "hacking housing" session. Bringing hackers together to work on the most prominent social issues in the bay area. I was also inspired to bring food to the meeting.

Rayc - This has been the 330th meeting of Noisebridge. Congratulations! We're still going :)