[Noisebridge-discuss] A modest proposal.

Matt Joyce matt at nycresistor.com
Wed Feb 8 22:12:10 PST 2012


>
> I don't see things as that black and white. I'd love an environment
> that's somewhere in the middle. What about someplace that's closer to
> the "universally accepting" end of the spectrum during the daylight
> hours when there're more people around to deter bad behaviour, while
> "after hours" the place turns into a "members"-only venue.
> Granted, there may be some bad "members", but with the whole "hot tub
> reset" idea being bandied about we can have varying definitions of
> what that means.

That's exclusionary in nature and it's nearly unenforceable.  Most (
definitely not all ) people do have an aversion to confrontation and
laziness will get the better of folks in repeatedly dealing with that
sort of enforcement.  But the exclusionary thing is not noisebridge's
culture at all.  And some folks will fight that to the death.  I don't
disagree with them in so far as it very much so is an attack on the
culture of noisebridge that is entirely unwarranted.

> How has NYCResistor worked out as a members only venue? I'm sure on
> some level, you're losing out by not letting awesome hackers passing
> through town easily visit, but I can imagine it keeps out a lot of
> riff-raff as well.

NYC Resistor is a very different beast.  Yes there is less of an issue
with riff raff so to speak.  That doesn't mean the space hasn't had to
eject people from public events before.  NYC has its own set of crazy
to deal with =/.  But, the fundamental nature of an exclusionary group
is vastly different from the culture noisebridge engenders.  The
result is that diversity in nyc resistor's membership is beholden
entirely to what is acceptable to the group ( everyone can veto a new
member during their proposal ).  I know of several people I feel would
have been phenomenal members but simply had been vetoed because others
disagreed.

In a city of 9 million people, including many very technically skilled
engineers and artists NYCR draws a ( 100% paying ) membership of
between 30 and 40 people.   Noisebridge has a larger overall community
by far with greater diversity and a greater public reach.  It is also
something of a model that most US hackerspaces have based themselves
on.

I loved NYCR ( still do ).  I think the people there are all good
people whom I would count immediately as close friends upon a grant of
membership there.  I simply trust everyone in that group to judge good
character in others.  But at the same time, the very nature of that
group is now homogenized to a degree as a result.

Neither approach is wrong.  They are simply vastly different.
Different goals, different approaches, and different results.
Personally I am glad there is diversity in the spaces that have popped
up across the country.  And I am glad to have been able to experience
two vastly different yet equally successful communities.

I think noisebridge should continue to protect the culture of it's
community.  That is something that should not even be in discussion
about changing.  If you want a different style of hackerspace... start
one as Ace monster toys or hacker dojo did.  In NYC alphaone labs
started with a contrasting set of goals to NYCR.  I support all of
that.

I love public libraries, but a private library is by no means a
terrible thing if you feel that is where you find the greatest joy in
reading.  Hackerspaces are like that.  And you can still love and
support both.

However public libraries do have their own security issues and
limitations as a result of being public.  Where private libraries can
exclude people and thus enjoy greater freedoms among the folks who are
within the trust.

Least common denominator versus reduced set.  It's all just numbers at
the end of the day.

-Matt


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