Meeting Notes 2014 10 28

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These are the notes from the The 330rd Meeting of Noisebridge. Note-taker: User:Patrickod; Moderator: User:Mitch


  • Mitch - A cofounder of Noisebridge! likes turning TVs off and helping people w/ hackerspaces
  • Jeremy - New here! Here to learn more about hardware hacking. Have a software background
  • Torie - Invests heavily in equipment
  • Patt - Here to help w/ finance issues. A friend of Mitch's
  • Signal - Here in support of Aaron and against the institution that killed him
  • Joshua - Into music and Brain hacking
  • Patrick - Typing furiously
  • Henner - Software hacker by day, hardware hacker by night
  • Carrie - Former math teacher. Trying to re-learn software hacking.
  • Nthmost - A monkey who likes to climb on things.
  • Claudio - I've no clue what I'm doing. Anyone know android or java? HALP!
  • Andreas - From .de and the Stutgart hackerspace. BIRTHDAY! Got a key from Mitch and promised to bring it back
  • Scotty - I hack on mobile things.
  • Vincent - Visiting from .de. Attending a GOOG event over the weekend. Here to check out the local hackerspace culture.
  • Rubin from Belgian - Probably won't ever see me again!
  • None - Spent the last 9.5 months hacking in east bay. Bringing chaos back to the bridge.
  • Kevin - Really interested in finding someone who does DSP. Artefact removal and recovery. Working on EEG data.
  • Jade - Like psychology and neuroscience
  • Mike - I like to find ways to make science enjoyable and useful
  • Monad - I tinker. Recently w/ building fractals
  • Rayc - The robots have enslaved me as I've been working on the 3d printer
  • NoHAT - Ethical social engineering after the meeting.
  • Howard - Used to come here quite often but got busy. Trying to rejoin the community.

What is this Noisebridge thing

Naomi - Noisebridge is a hackerspace, makerspace, we like artists too. It's a place where you can make awesome things. The only rule is "Be excellent to one another" There are other sub rules but it's all about being excellent.

Announcements and Events

Signal - Naomi and I have pinged the EFF about the Aaron Swartz hackathon. His birthday is November 8th. We'd like to have it on his birthday. There's been no community announcement about where the hackathon is going to be. We need to stand up and say it'll be on this date

Naomi - Danny O'Brien said they didn't host the first one, just happened to attend it.

Mitch - Let's just announce it on the BACH list and nb-discuss etc.

Signal - We should put it on every billboard that ever existed. It's a good thing and it needs to happen. We need to not forget what he did and what happened and we need to make sure it never happens again. It's still happening and we should stop it

Torrie - There have been rumours about the CNC mill not working. Not true! It works. It cuts keys and more. Working on cutting keys

Mitch - I have promises for a bunch of IGG rewards that people have volunteered to make. I made 4 LED cubes yesterday w/ animations. For the folks who contributed {256,512} USD they were promised a number of cool handmade things. We need 9 more items. Please contact me if you have some to donate.

Claudia - I've seen people attempting to repair the sewing machines. They apparently need professional help. Discussion item.

Torrie - I ran some CAT5 around the space, the AV space and to the CNC mill. There's a bunch of 2x4s around the place. Please use them. There's also a whole bunch of new shop toys but please be careful with them.

Naomi - I posted the meeting notes!

Mitch - I'm going to China on Friday. I'll be there for a month. We have a shopping list of stuff that NB wants from China but if you have more ideas then add it to the list. Shipping from China is cheap.

unknown - Are there WS2128 strips on the list?

Mitch - We have panels but not strips.

unknown - specifically 144 per meter

Mitch - A bunch of new people!

Henner - Access control has been revamped. PIN thing is broken. We're RFID'd up soon. I want to collect RFID signatures from folks, clipper cards and the like so we can seed the file and then later if you're a member you can add new users. Right now the gate works but the upper door is not yet functional, this weekend.

Rayc - The turing classroom will have a temp projector tomorrow. Presuming the bulb fixes it.

None - 9.5 week old hacker kittens. Just finished training. Free kitties

Torrie - This weekend there's an AV installation weekend. All weekend AV equipment getting installed. $4k worth.

Mitch - Rubin bought a bunch of equipment to make it much easier to live stream events and stuff.

Signal - The community immune system is in effect to keep that stuff bolted to the ground. Make sure we can have nice things.


Kevin - To become a member of noisebridge involves filling out an application in the binder. You need two member sponsors on your application. It's read aloud at 4 consecutive meetings after which your membership is discussed amongst the membership if you have the signatures. Practically speaking you should hang out here for a while before applying to get to know the community.

Mitch - You're a member only after you've paid your first month dues and have given your information to the secretary

Naomi - I'm interim Treasurer and Torrie is interim secretary.

Mitch - We have 4 membership applications in the binder. After they're read off 12 times we get rid of them. Daniel Lewis. Pulled from the binder. Daniel hasn't hung out here and no member sponsors. Tristan Mosley. Nobody else knows them. Torrie Fischer. A few people know her. Put in her application 3 weeks ago. <INSERT TORRIE'S STATEMENT HERE>. Has two sponsors including myself and Monad. Definitely hung out here a lot. Checking her off for the 3rd week.

Signal - Are we to discuss her membership? She's awesome and has done loads of neat stuff.

Mitch - Patrick, 2 weeks ago. 2 sponsors including Mitch and Naomi. < INSERT PATRICK'S STATEMENT HERE >

Signal - Statement is all true.

Consensus items

  • Patrick - Consensus is a decision making system completely dissimilar to majority vote where the opinions of all are heard. Consensus involves the agreement of all parties for items to pass. Objections must be accompanied by a compromise suitable both to you and everyone else. Blocks are the "nuclear" option and not readily used.

Monad - Consensus blocks for membership applications don't need a reason

Rayc - They usually start as a discussion item at a meeting like this. Discussed at 2 meetings.

Mitch - Consensus items

Naomi - Striking all members from the roles. Unsure how to proceed. Suggested 3 meetings ago. We have 40-50 members on the roles at the time but maybe only 3-4 present in the room at a time. The people we count on and trust are largely non-members, responsible for the reboot. The idea was to maybe accompany the reboot with a spiritual reboot, and start membership from scratch. How to do that w/ consensus is tricky. We've been discussing what it means to be a member and I think that's important. As long as we keep reevaluating what it means to be excellent and contribute in some way maybe that's ok. I'd be willing to drop it if noone sees the need to push it forward.

Mitch - Bringing it up was a great source of discussion of what it means to be a member, what makes the community work. We need to be all empowered to keep talking about these things

Rayc - I think the best way to do this is to drop it.

Naomi - I can just drop it instead.

No hat - I think one of the concerns about how many people are here. What if becoming a member was time-based. You fell off after a period of time and had to reapply.

Signal - What is the action? That there's a 3 month cliff after which you have to reapply? Do what?

No hat - Instead of lets get rid of anything, just change it to be you have membership for n months and then reapply. If you're here then it's easy.

Signal - It leads to an awkward social situation where people have to reaffirm relationships

Naomi - A lot of bureaucracy . The more rules you have the more people can game the system.

Mike - Maybe like it's a license subject to renewal.

Josh - Maybe not a consensus item but maybe if you haven't been here we reach out to you to ask if you still want to be a member.

Kevin - I feel like a monetary contribution is the monthly solidarity moment w/ noisebridge. I don't think we need a renewal. It's covered by dues. Maybe we could have people paying w/ time instead of money. which means you'd have to be in SF

Torrie - What's the problem that this is trying to solve? One is people abusing the consensus process w/ proxy blocks. The real issue is that he process isn't functional. That the people don't know what it means to participate fully.

Naomi - The other bureaucratic problem w/ partly engaged members is that membership grants you teh ability to vote and we'd like to have board members that accurately represent the views of the membership.

Mitch - The board is the 5 member board which is required by CA law. They have no power whatsoever. They just volunteer and take on responsibility. It doesn't mean anything at all just shows a contribution of time for most people.

Patt - It's then public record that you're on the board of NB.

Mitch - By paying dues you are contributing even if you're not here. There are folks who haven't been in SF for years but want to continue to be a member. The way that people stop being members is by consensus or in rare cases the board can do so. If someone is past due in their dues for 3 months they're also not a member. The treasurer also takes a list of active members. Any objections to dropping Naomi's consensus item now but keep discussing it for ever ? One other consensus item from last week was removing "Associate membership". In the early days associate membership was just a voluntary donation of monies, but it morphed into something different. Signal brought it up last week that we should remove it

Signal - Just to clarify: I don't understand it. It nobody understands it then we shouldn't have it. Nobody knows what it means.

Kevin - I was here through the whole Associate Membership thing. Any of the privileges granted to associate members were removed with the change of the access policy. There are relics of old policies referencing it. What's the proposal?

Torrie - If you'd like to remove all references to it that'd be amazing.

Monad - At one point we had resolved that nobody should be here at night w/o a member present or being a member. In reality that was almost never. Then we added associate membership to allow folks to be here late at night.

Claudia - I don't like the idea of non-members being here late at night.

N0HAT - It was partly also an issue of there not being enough people to introduce people into the space. This is now taken up by the greeters

Jade - I completely support scratching Associate Membership. It seems like an unnecessary tier to NB.

Rayc - I think Associate Membership was a community hack. I feel that it was a patch to different problems, an update to NB to things that should have been handled differently. There wasn't enough support at NB to support it the way it needed at the time.

Henner - I think from what I understand. Only followed it. Associate Membership tried to add another layer because there weren't enough members here around the clock, so if we wanted that associate members would be the next level of trust for this. It was trying to fix a problem that NB had but not so much in the future which was that NB was too disconnected. Nobody knew each other to see at the door. One thing we started w/ the reboot was folks trying to get to know each other and build the community again. The greeter community is trying to solve the issue of introducing people, to increase the number of faces that people recognise. I think AM tried to patch a problem that we're solving w/ the reboot. We should not continue with it but acknowledge that community disconnected-ness was the problem we were trying to fix. Everyone should acknowledge that building community is work. Showing new people around, crashing conversations to try find out what people are working on.

Mitch - Lets move on. Anyone in favour of keeping it ?

Andreas - On my first day here I already really like it. There are examples of people in .de being not-active members but helping financially

Mitch - We've made it super easy to contribute money w/ paypal and be "associate membership", a warm fuzzy feeling from the very beginning. What we're talking about is removing the tier of membership and the items surrounding it. From the "experiment in authoritarianism" period.

Signal - Being excellent is excellent. Contributing doesn't give you power over others.

Mitch - Everyone contributes in different ways. There's no need to compare contributions. If you're a member you have some rights given by the state of CA but otherwise nothing else.

Rayc - Discussing it is a waste of energy


Mitch - We'll consense next week.

Signal - Last week there was discussion / consensus item of soundproofing Turing, but it's still a discussion item.

Discussion Items

Claudia - Sewing machine needs help. Not sure where we get it.

Mitch - When we got it in the beginning Rachel was the person who kept great care of the machines. Since then there been others but none in a while.

Rayc - I spent a while on it recently. There are a lot of people from tours who are interested in restarting a sewing & craft group. 2 people have stated that we need parts that are about $100 to get it working.

None - I volunteer Ricky who'll be here later.

Signal - I volunteer a couch that needs cushions to kick-start the motivation required to fixing it.

Mitch - Sounds like there are folks around who can fix it. Happy to see what happens with them?

Signal - I'm not a user of the Turing space just want more artists in the space. Joshua's here to help w/ this. We're considering soundproofing the Turing room to give awesome help to artists who helped w/ the reboot.

Joshua - I can see online what people have done if we want to soundproof the actual room. In terms of gear I can help source it and teach people how to use it. Definitely 100% want to help.

Mitch - Shackspace has a soundproof room.

Andreas - It moves around a lot but I've no idea how much it costs.

Mitch - I saw a cool demo when I was there of someone using it to make speakers. it was neat.

Signal - INFO: Joshua used to teach people how to use your computer as a recording studio. Software synths and MIDI controllers and the like. Also maybe teach some music theory. Jade is also musically talented. You guys should collaborate on the room. I want to help doocracratically help

Mitch - We have a large discussion item RE treasurer stuff. Patt here is a non-profit finance expert. Helped w/ TVB-Gone enterprise. We don't have an active treasurer and it's painful. We want to automate it as much as possible. Patt has a bunch of ideas and would be willing to help us get it started.

Patt - Needs assessment

Mitch - One really important thing is knowing who's a member in good standing. Used to be 2/3rds of income was from active membership dues. It was important to remind people. In the last year nobody has been doing this. We could have a lot more income and involvement by that alone.

Claudia - Sounds like something that'd be worth paying someone or a service for.

Mitch - I brought up paying someone to do treasurer duties, they can delegate as much of it as possible. A bunch of folks have volunteered software and there's FOSS out there for it.

Patt - The part I'm familiar with is the 501c3 specific stuff. The records requirements. There are 3 things. Maintaining bank balance, doing things so that we can report yearly to the government, thirdly keeping tabs of active memberships. It's not unlikely that we'd need 2 different software to do these things. My experience is in the non-profit software is that even expensive systems don't work well. The worst thing is state sensitive. Dates merging these two ledgers, cash and membership is tough.

Naomi - Financial report: $25000.47.

None - $18k is the point where we're ahead of 3 months operating expenses

Mitch - Annual expenses are $70k / year

None - Are there any major outstanding things?

Naomi - $3900 a month in rent. We paid $1200 to sunset scavenger. A bunch of outbound checks in Sept. We raised $27k from IGG over the summer. We paid $15k to the electricians.

None - What's the noisetor situation?

Patrick - It's got a long runway w/ 80% of monthly costs covered by monthly donations

Patt - What's the fiscal year? Have we filed?

Naomi - We got an extension from our accountant who was working w/ Danny. They'll be filed in November.

Patt - Who's the accountant?

Naomi - Not sure. Likely someone Danny is saying.

Patt - There ought to be two, treasurer and membership. Separate from secretary, treasurer there should be membership.

Rayc - Question: what is the difficulty w/ tracking membership historically?

Mitch - It's a huge job and it's very tedious. Lots of technicalities. Membership dues vary, some money in is donations other dues.

Rayc - If we automate it we can have automate messages, notifications etc.

Mitch - Just a simple matter of software.

Rayc - Is membership a third of the duties of the treasurer.

Patt - It's a big job.

Mitch - Coming up w/ software to do this is cool but it's a big job.

Kevin - Question: I was accounts receivable for a 30 person co-op house. I just used a spreadsheet w/ quickbooks to record things.

Patt - Mistake: Membership needs to be a database instead of accounting.

Kevin - When you're doing this problem solving are you open to FOSS or proprietary

Patt - Much prefer FOSS

Torrie - Going back a bit, Membership and treasurer stuff is separate. That's confused me for a while, the mixed roles. In most other spaces there's separate people for financials and membership.

Mitch - They have to work in tandem.

Signal - 2 things. One is to get us up to date, second is long term stuff like automation. Patt likes FOSS and worked w/ Mitch before. Understands the forms. If she's willing to do the thing. I trust Patt to do this.

Rayc - We have full stack of capabilities in the NB community. Why not have a hackathon on membership and open source it in the community

Patt - As far as the accounting piece goes, quickbooks 2010 is simple and free. What are all the questions we'd ask of the membership database. Spec it out like that.

None - Naomi you have account access and Torrie you have membership list ?

Naomi - Have account access but I'll send email list to Torrie

None - Roughly how many members?

Naomi - 45

None - I'll volunteer to take on membership till the year end. I'll assume that doesn't mean managing members.

Josh - About the split of donations / dues. When the funds come in do they come in to one paypal account? or do we have separate accounts for these?

Mitch - We have paypal, bitcoin, cash and wells fargo

Signal - I think we're trying to solve 2 problems at the same time and we're disagreeing. One is getting up to date and compliant. Nobody knows better than Patt. Separately software automation of ongoing issues.

Patt - It's important to have records for membership for the government. If we get a process together when we're getting up to date that'll make life easier.

Rayc - I like you but I object on this reason. Patt knows more and it's too risky.

None - Membership: Can I take it out of this conversation and discuss it afterwards ?

Mitch - We need to have a needs assessment for the treasurer's responsibilities

Patt - Happy to help out with that.

Kevin - I'll volunteer

N0HAT - 2 separate problems. As long as both sides document it and read it's ok.

Mitch - Let's close out the meeting. The end of the 333rd meeting.