[Noisebridge-discuss] Keeping associate members in their place

Al Sweigart asweigart at gmail.com
Thu Dec 19 02:44:55 UTC 2013

Rubin, I'm not being theoretical, I'm describing something that happened 24
hours ago. I put a lot of thought into the proposal, carefully worded it,
and thought about questions people would have and had answers for them. But
at the meeting I didn't get a chance to go into any of that: discussion
_did_ end on it once a couple members made clear they were going to block
and did not want to continue discussing compromise.

Sure, we can talk about this on the mailing list. I'm not saying a block is
anything like a court-enforced gag order. But we can't pretend that knowing
a couple of members will block and are uninterested in compromise doesn't
discourage discussion. I got that line at Sycamore after the meeting: "Why
are you bringing this up when it's not going to pass?"

The most common tactic in Noisebridge politics is to get people to stop
speaking up about issues. And it works: Most people just quietly give up on
Noisebridge after a while rather than try to resolve things. I think
consensus is the main cause of that, which is why I want to bring this up
(and even go so far as to question the motivation of the blockers (which
I'm still interested in hearing from people on.))


On Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 6:08 PM, Rubin Abdi <rubin at starset.net> wrote:

> Note: I am currently not a full member, on hiatus until Jan 1st of 2099.
> Al Sweigart wrote, On 2013-12-18 16:11:
> > I can unilaterally block any
> > measure that I don't like. I *can* negotiate and compromise with other
> > folks in the community, or I can cut off something after a few minutes of
> > discussion.
> This is incorrect. A member can disagree with the current form of a
> consensus item and state they would block that item from being consented
> on and ratified in one form or another.
> This however doesn't equate to some ability to cut off discussion, that
> is up to the group running the meeting to decide. Classically it's been
> asked as a curtsey to defer that discussion to another medium (like this
> discussion list or the one bringing up the item chat with the blocker)
> if it seems like the item is eating too much time during the meeting.
> This new discussion (post being blocked) eventually leads into one of
> four directions...
> 1. The general idea behind the consensus item is totally dropped and no
> one brings it up anymore.
> 2. Discussion prompts to change how the consensus items works so that
> all involved in the consensus process are happy with it, everyone
> agrees, no one blocks this new item, which most likely comes up at the
> next meeting.
> 3. Discussion with the party blocking continues, and they eventually
> change their mind and pull back on their block.
> 4. Forks 2 or 3 happen, but someone blocks on something new, or a new
> person shows up and gets their undies in a twist, and the cycle repeats.
> With all that being said, no individual person, member or not, have the
> power or right to cut off discussion. This is called censorship. Al, the
> thing you just described sounds like members have the ability to censor
> discussion (and it's vague if you're saying this is at a meeting or
> through some other form of communication). Your interpretation isn't
> correct.
> In the past we've had many different ideas go through different
> iterations of consensus items over months at a time, some even forking
> into new items, many eventually passing. This wouldn't have been
> possibly if someone with membership status said "Blocked, and you're not
> allowed to talk about this anymore."
> And something Noisebridge really sucks at, blocking shouldn't generally
> happen right at the tip of the meeting. If you have an item you'd like
> to push for consensus, start discussion for it early, get everyone's
> input a week beforehand. People should be excellent and let you know if
> the current form the consensus item is in isn't cool and why they would
> block it. Tweak it, make everyone happy, then go to the meeting. Sadly I
> feel like the vast majority of items brought up for consensus don't go
> through this process, and end up pissing a lot of people off because
> discussion involving it doesn't happen until the meeting.
> I do recognize an argument could be made that multiple people in a
> meeting can decide to voice out their dislike in a discussion around a
> consensus item be shelved, and all those people could be members, and
> everyone else in the meeting agrees that is the thing to do. That still
> doesn't mean only members get this magical ability and specifically it
> must be followed and respected by others.
> If I had this super power when I was a member, Noisebridge would be a
> much different place now. We would have red uniforms with emblems on the
> left sleeves for one. Also a mandatory draft, and a platform higher up
> than where everyone else works, for me to sit at and eat grapes.
> So anyhow, Al, please watch your wording. Because based off what you
> said, we shouldn't even really be having this discussion now.
> --
> Rubin
> rubin at starset.net
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://www.noisebridge.net/pipermail/noisebridge-discuss/attachments/20131218/7c895e51/attachment.html>

More information about the Noisebridge-discuss mailing list