[Noisebridge-discuss] policies and procedures (more things you don't want to hear)

Jonathan Foote jtfoote at ieee.org
Mon Jan 3 11:58:45 PST 2011

> On Mon, Jan 3, 2011 at 3:26 AM, Patrick Keys <citizenkeys at gmail.com> wrote:
> Since nobody is in charge, who gets to decide what's excellent and what
> isn't?

NB is what economists call a "Common-Pool Resource." These can be
subject to some distinctly suboptimal outcomes, such as the Tragedy of
the Common Dish Sink.  At least a few studies exist on how they work.
Cribbing from the Wikipedia:

"Analysing the design of long-enduring CPR institutions, Elinor Ostrom
identified eight design principles which are prerequisites for a
stable CPR arrangement:

   1. Clearly defined boundaries
   2. Congruence between appropriation and provision rules and local conditions
   3. Collective-choice arrangements allowing for the participation of
most of the appropriators in the decision making process
   4. Effective monitoring by monitors who are part of or accountable
to the appropriators
   5. Graduated sanctions for appropriators who do not respect community rules
   6. Conflict-resolution mechanisms which are cheap and easy of access
   7. Minimal recognition of rights to organize (e.g., by the government)
   8. In case of larger CPRs: Organisation in the form of multiple
layers of nested enterprises, with small, local CPRs at their bases."

While I am not advocating formalizing any of these, it's important to
recognize they are necessary and they mostly already exist at NB, even
if ad hoc. For example, the consensus process pretty much takes care
of #3.   Patrick's question goes to conflict resolution (#6). Since
"excellence" is both subjective and vague, it's a fair question about
how it is defined and how conflicts are resolved.

If we can hack methods to accomplish any of these in a way consistent
with our values, we should at least formalize them to the point of
writing them down for the benefit of other organizations.

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