Social Engineers

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Technical Solutions to Social Problems


"You cannot apply a technological solution to a sociological problem." - Edwards' Law

"Every time I hear Edwards' Law, I reach for my gun" - the Noisebridge Secretaribot

There are lots of fascinating challenges to running a hackerspace using the purest anarchist collective principles, many of which we appear (from the outside) to talk about endlessly. Some of them are actually *about* the need to talk endlessly.

Noisebridge's Social Engineering group's motto is "A little less talk, a lot more evidence-based semi-autonomous behaviouralist actions."

We brainstorm and implement new software, hardware, and architecture that can support Noisebridge's unique social contract in the same way that almost all of the rest of our culture works to support _its_ definition of normality.

You can meet with us on Tuesdays from 7pm-8pm before the official Meeting in Turing, or join the socialengineering mailing list

Current facilitator for the Social Engineers is Danny.

Previous meeting archive

Meeting on 2011-12-13


  • Talking about
  • Maybe hacking on getting an API to work for the Big LED board
  • A Noisebridge MUD?

Meeting on 2011-12-06

Just me and Kaya, so I worked on getting the gate buzzer to work.

Meeting on 2011-11-29

We talked about the shop walls, and what worked and what didn't. In the end, it turned out to be more of a planning session for the next stage: Miloh planned to work with others on finishing up the classrooms (mudding + putting primer on it) so the electrics can go in next.

We brainstormed the needs for the issue tracker (or basically the things that online tools might be able to help with in the space). We also listed stuff that was and working with the wiki and mailing list.

What Works

The Wiki works fairly well in the following ways:

  • generic repository for information
  • a historical archive
  • something with a reasonably low barrier to entry


  • Triage and priorisation of issues and tasks.
  • "Rolling consensus" (Miloh's term) outside of the meeting.
  • To stop projects going stale
  • Store institutional knowledge
  • Create recurring todos
  • Easy process for creating new prjects
  • A point of contact for events/projects
  • Defining long term projects
  • "Impending doom" highlighting -- fire safety, that the sink is going to fall off the walls at some point, earthquake prep
  • Anticipating crises (maybe the same as above)
  • Keeping noise off noisebridge-discuss
  • Broadcasting to all our users
  • Linking the online world to the realworld space, and vice versa
  • Fundraising
  • Encouraging new members
  • Growing Noisebridge
  • Providing an online identity for members
  • Getting input from the space

Meeting on 2011-11-16

Will talked about the cleaning experiment, and this was moved to the meeting.

We talked about soundproofing the shops and classes, and decided to do it Thanksgiving weekend

We talked about the next six months of soceng, and decided to concentrate on one project, to whit a karma and issue tracker for Noisebridge written in Ruby on Rails.

Incomprehensible notes at Social Engineers/2011-11-16

Meeting on 2011-07-26

Scribbled notes at Social Engineers/2011-07-26

Meeting on 2011-07-19

Deeper (incomprehensible) notes here: Social_Engineers/2011-07-19