[Noisebridge-discuss] Thought crimes at Noisebridge, and how can we stop them?

jim jim at well.com
Thu Dec 19 20:00:00 UTC 2013


    (sorry to be wordy, I don't figure out how to 
say this more briefly.) 

    To respond usefully requires reviewing most 
of Noisebridge emails and maybe interviewing 
members of long-standing to gather events as 
well as those members who've left the community. 
    Given that info, the next task, it seems to 
me, is to analyze the info to distinguish those 
issues that have to do with governance as well 
as other issues that have to do with various 
aspects of group dynamics. 
    My own recollections are subject to my own 
vagueries. I believe there should be an email  <--- 
thread that asks for recollections and examples 
from the general group. 

    Some general issues below: 

    Consensus has been subject to attack. My view 
is that consensus should have been carefully 
qualified to allow blocking only for proposals 
that might have a direct affect on people's 
projects, not their sense of propriety or morals 
or ideals or.... 
    Restricted access, whether it's a matter of 
physical access such as keys or codes or a matter 
of policy such as closing hours, has been an issue. 
    Appropriate kitchen and cooking facilities 
have been subject to uproar. 
    Use of space, notably in the two classrooms, 
has been a source of contention. 
    Cleaning, moving furniture, other housekeeping 
tasks (e.g. toilet paper and other supplies) have 
been more or less successful, thanks to do-ocratic 
calls to action, but occasionally a matter of 
uproar (people objecting others defending). 
    Proposals for change of governance, such as 
establishing a council, are targets for derision. 
Recall that some people remain loyal to the original 
premises such as one rule only (treat each other 
excellently), specific proscription against 
structured governance (e.g. members of the board 
of directors shall take no actions whatever). 
    General discussion tends to be a shouting 
match; people defend their own points of view 
rather than to allow open and accepting discussion, 
as a recent example, I think Carles Tang's 
contributions have been unusually thoughtful, but 
seem not to be thoughtfully received, possibly 
because his in-person demeanor is abrasive, which 
is to say non-conformative to accepted behavioral 
norms in some of the various NB groups. 

    A common thread is that of one group proposing 
to formalize some rule or structure that imposes 
their ideals on the behaviors of others, which 
actuates those who do not want others to hack 
their behaviors. 




On Thu, 2013-12-19 at 11:15 -0800, Al Sweigart wrote:
> Can you... give a number of people? Jim, this is a somewhat
> frustrating pattern with you. I'll copy and paste my part of my reply
> from our recent off-list email conversation because it fits here
> perfectly well: "I don't really know how to respond: Rumors
> of unspecified behavior of unspecified people claiming to
> dictate unspecified things to unspecified others is about as vague as
> you can get."
> 
> 
> Until we can start dealing with things in a concrete way, I'm just
> going to slap up a [citation needed] and move on.
> 
> 
> I'm not saying you're making this stuff up, but I need to get an
> accurate idea of who has problems, what the problems are, and how big
> they are. And I don't want to discourage you from speaking up: quite
> the opposite, I need you to tell me *more* details.
> 
> 
> -Al
> 
> 
> On Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 10:42 AM, jim <jim at well.com> wrote:
>         
>         Al,
>             Your questions are good and thank you for
>         your response.
>             I will not name names, nor will I dig up
>         info that might allow surmise, other than you
>         and me. I admire you and your seeming pure-
>         hearted tenacity. Mostly you've taken
>         initiative to boot out the sleepers: kudos!
>             Consider the ideas of associate members
>         and closing hours and a council in light of
>         the ideas of community collaboration and an
>         open venue.
>             There has been disaffection of various
>         kinds ever since the build-out was somewhat
>         done and decorations up.
>             Please take my response as food for
>         reflection, suggestions to balance the urge
>         to create policy.
>         
>         
>         On Thu, 2013-12-19 at 10:10 -0800, Al Sweigart wrote:
>         > Jim, could you give some examples of which NB members left
>         because of
>         > rule makers rather than rule breakers? And can you say which
>         rule
>         > makers and what rules they had gripes about? (I don't mind
>         if you name
>         > me among them.)
>         >
>         >
>         > On Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 9:46 AM, jim <jim at well.com> wrote:
>         >
>         >
>         >             Trying to find community is a matter of bonding
>         >         with others, yes? Why not come and find others who
>         >         share your values and interests and, with respect
>         >         to others, live and let live?
>         >             One big and largely ignored fact of NB is that
>         >         there are several communities, such as the morning,
>         >         mid-day, evening, and late evening people as well
>         >         as those that center about electronics, sewing,
>         >         software, cooking, spacebridge, and other interests.
>         >             It's unfortunate for some, who are harmless or
>         >         who offer real benefits to some others, that the
>         >         evening crowd has a much greater affect than others
>         >         regarding NB governance, and one of the founding
>         >         principles has been to recognize those who, for
>         >         whatever reasons, do not or can not attend
>         >         The Tuesday Night Meeting.
>         >
>         >             You've exaggerated the bad features and skipped
>         >         the good features of Noisebridge. A couple of good
>         >         features are
>         >         * the openness provides a great place to meet people
>         >           that one otherwise would never meet.
>         >         * cross-fertilization of interests and ideas among
>         >           various interest groups.
>         >
>         >             Those who simply "hack" and avoid the fray are
>         >         affected by the decisions of those who kick up the
>         >         fray: e.g. associate members and closing hours among
>         >         other tho't crimes.
>         >             The attempts to impose rules to govern mostly
>         >         * mask individuals' behaviors (people can blind
>         >           themselves to reality with the comfort that there
>         >           are rules)
>         >         * and, it seems to me having watched NB from its
>         >           inception, like medicines' side effects, rules
>         >           generally are not worth the enforcement efforts.
>         >
>         >             It's frustrating to put up with the bad sides of
>         >         any community, but rules usually do not address many
>         >         aspects of reality that drive behavior; patience is
>         >         a tough road.
>         >             There have been individual, do-ocratic efforts
>         to
>         >         address theft, sleeping, drug use, and other
>         problems
>         >         that were successful and did not employ rules.
>         >
>         >             Most of the people I learned to love have left.
>         >         I guess that's partly a matter of natural attrition,
>         >         but I know for a fact that to some degree people
>         have
>         >         abandoned NB because of the rule makers rather than
>         >         the rule breakers.
>         >
>         >
>         >
>         >
>         >
>         >         On Wed, 2013-12-18 at 19:41 -0800, Madelynn
>         Martiniere wrote:
>         >         > Trying to find community is a thought crime? My
>         bad, I
>         >         didn't realize
>         >         > the opinion of people who care about the future of
>         the space
>         >         were so
>         >         > criminal.
>         >         >
>         >         > Considering this statement in your previous email:
>         >         > And let's be honest, Noisebridge in the last two
>         years (or
>         >         even from the
>         >         > beginning) hasn't been the best establishment to
>         go flaunt
>         >         around saying
>         >         > you're a member of. It's sort of like telling all
>         your
>         >         friends you're a
>         >         > paying member of the festering techno trash dump
>         and care
>         >         home for the
>         >         > socially dongz, while mice and rats run around
>         inside your
>         >         sports blazer.
>         >         >
>         >         > Are you saying that it's not worth fixing because
>         it's so
>         >         messed up?
>         >         > Because if so, then you're in no position to tell
>         other
>         >         people not to
>         >         > try. If you're that sick and tired of hearing
>         other people
>         >         try to fix
>         >         > a broken system, then I would suggest the
>         alternative of
>         >         just not
>         >         > participating in any discussion about the space.
>         Just hack
>         >         some
>         >         > things, and leave the rest of us to find
>         productive
>         >         solutions.
>         >         >
>         >         > Cheers,
>         >         > Madelynn
>         >         >
>         >         >
>         >         > >
>         >
>         >         > > Rubin Abdi
>         >         > > December 18, 2013 6:37 PM
>         >         > > I'm getting sick and tired of people thinking
>         they can fix
>         >         > > Noisebridge.
>         >         > > How can we put an end to this issue?
>         >         > >
>         >         > >
>         >         > > _______________________________________________
>         >         > > Noisebridge-discuss mailing list
>         >         > > Noisebridge-discuss at lists.noisebridge.net
>         >         > >
>         >
>         https://www.noisebridge.net/mailman/listinfo/noisebridge-discuss
>         >         > >
>         >         >
>         >         > --
>         >         > Madelynn Martiniere
>         >         > Community Engineer. Entrepreneur. Geek.
>         >         >
>         >         > LinkedIn | Twitter | Email
>         >         >
>         >         >
>         >         >
>         >         > _______________________________________________
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>         >
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