[Noisebridge-discuss] Keeping associate members in their place -- consensus

jim jim at systemateka.com
Thu Dec 19 20:27:47 UTC 2013


[metric: ] 
Count me as opposed to getting rid of consensus. 
    However, I'd probably support a proposal for 
redefining consensus such that someone can block 
with respect to one's activities and use of 
resources but not with respect to one's view of 
how others behavior. 

[possibly a metric: ] 
Count me as opposed to councils or associate 
memberships or any formal governing structures 
or rules other than "treat each other excellently" 
(which is very hard to do, maybe better stated 
as "treat each other civilly; and if we can't 
even follow one rule, what makes us think we can 
do better with multiple rules?). 

[Thanks and a suggestion: ] 
That said, thank you both for all the work you've 
done to defend the space for hackers. Consider 
informally enlisting others to help you, especially 
others with whom you don't normally associate. 



On Thu, 2013-12-19 at 12:12 -0800, Al Sweigart wrote:
> Danny, when I ran for board I brought up modifying/replacing our
> consensus process, but no one else chimed in on that topic:
> https://www.noisebridge.net/pipermail/noisebridge-discuss/2011-January/020091.html (I didn't follow up on that either in the following months; other NB stuff came up.) And the issue of replacing consensus with majority voting hasn't come up very often after that (I've done enough trawling through the mailing list archive for today.)
> 
> 
> There was a huge thread on consensus before that in 2009, which I
> hadn't commented on (it was before I followed the mailing list much):
> https://www.noisebridge.net/pipermail/noisebridge-discuss/2009-October/008547.html
> 
> 
> But this is all ancient history on Noisebridge's timeline. Almost no
> one on those threads hacks at the space anymore.
> 
> 
> Here's an idea: Instead of me jumping through hoops to find people who
> disagree with making changes at Noisebridge, why don't those people
> pay attention to the mailing list, meeting notes, or Consensus Items
> wiki page and then make their own views known on the list or at a
> meeting?
> 
> 
> So far, I have Kevin as being against replacing consensus (side note:
> Kevin, I'll follow up on our off-list emails, I think a lot of this is
> a misunderstanding that I can clarify my aims) and you down as
> "christ-I-don't-know-maybe". I'll work with Kevin on this, but I'm not
> a mind reader. The best I can do is go on the list and at the meetings
> and ask, "Who has a problem with this and what are those problems?"
> 
> 
> -Al
> 
> 
> On Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 9:34 PM, Danny O'Brien <danny at spesh.com>
> wrote:
>         On Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 8:18 PM, Al Sweigart
>         <asweigart at gmail.com> wrote:
>         > Every other time I've proposed this? I've never proposed
>         this before, Danny.
>         > And checking the Consensus Items History wiki page which
>         goes back three
>         > years, no one else has either.
>         >
>         
>         
>         You got me! I sort of meant more "proposed" in the sense of
>         talking a
>         lot about how consensus is the death knell of Noisebridge.
>         
>         You also stood for the board on the platform that you thought
>         the
>         board should do things (as opposed to the default board
>         position,
>         which is to cede its power to the meeting's consensus). I have
>         always
>         seen you as the main proponent of solutions to Noisebridge
>         that
>         involve doing everything the way everyone else does it. i hope
>         that's
>         flattering rather than damning.
>         
>         > People have been grumbling about consensus for a long time,
>         but no one has
>         > ever actually brought up the issue.
>         >
>         > I did write one email to you and Mitch and couple others
>         like two years ago
>         > about this, and you replied that you didn't think getting
>         rid of consensus
>         > would solve any of Noisebridge's problem.
>         > Actually, I'm still unsure what
>         > your position on this is to begin with: Would you yourself
>         block replacing
>         > consensus with majority voting?
>         >
>         
>         
>         Christ, I don't know. Maybe? Like I said earlier, I'd rather
>         Noisebridge try some other radical experimental system instead
>         of just
>         doing what everybody else does. I'd rather we had some mad
>         condorcet
>         voting system tied to liquid democracy with a future's market
>         denominated in bitcoins than Robert's Rules of Order. My
>         interest in
>         Noisebridge is to hack on interesting things, and that
>         includes its
>         operational structure.
>         
>         One of the things I like about Noisebridge's current set-up is
>         that it
>         attracts all the political dweebs like me and Tom and you and
>         Johny
>         Radio, who would otherwise potentially turn it into some sort
>         of of
>         high-school debating society, and ties them so much in
>         consensus-based
>         knots that they can't get anything rule-based done  apart from
>         honk on
>         to each other at Meeting -- in theory leaving everyone else to
>         just
>         hack, and maintain the place. The *theory* is that this
>         encourages
>         everyone else (like to do-acractically do whatever they want,
>         without
>         suddenly the political dweebs coming down from on high and
>         going "uhh
>         excuse me I don't think you've filled in the lasercutting chit
>         form
>         32ZB! Membership demerit point!"
>         
>         I think people like Jim and Maestro would say that our current
>         system
>         hasn't really been effective enough at preventing that from
>         happening,
>         so I don't know. I don't see your current proposal as fixing
>         *that*
>         problem, or even seeing it as a problem, opening up the risk
>         that  you
>         would end up with the election of the board going to a bunch
>         of
>         political dweebs who would also be too asocially dysfunctional
>         to
>         *not* put in a bunch of overarching rules, but maybe I'm wrong
>         about
>         that. I also note that every time we've set up anything like a
>         power
>         structure like the redshirts or the rooster brigade, the
>         creepy people
>         that everyone else is freaked by make an absolute beeline for
>         it, and
>         I'm a little worried about that too. The intersection of
>         "people who
>         like alternative hackerspaces" and "people who think they
>         might be
>         quite good at running things" seems me much more full of
>         organizational incompetence and creepiness than in other
>         sectors.
>         
>         Again I guess I would prefer to experiment with something more
>         hackerish before putting on our grown-up NGO trousers.
>         
>         Also, to be consistent with what I told you a million years
>         ago, I see
>         fixing consensus as being a distraction from the main
>         challenge, which
>         is shifting the present culture from being a dark mildly
>         smelly room
>         full of slightly shifty looking unshaven young men reading
>         youtube
>         between naps and stealing copper, to a laughing clean space
>         cubicle
>         full of people riding robot unicorns showing each other the
>         wonders of
>         the 21st century.
>         
>         In conclusion, as I said in the meeting, I would not be the
>         last
>         holdout on a consensus proposal to remove consensus. That
>         therefore
>         makes my opinion, like everyone apart from the voter who
>         shifts a
>         majority, rather irrelevant. It's other people you have to
>         convince.
>         (And I do mean convince, as opposed to "write them an email
>         saying BUT
>         WILL YOU BLOCK" and then bemoaning their intransigence when
>         they say
>         yes.
>         
>         d.
>         
>         
>         
>         
>         
>         
>         
>         
>         
>         >
>         > On Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 7:58 PM, Danny O'Brien
>         <danny at spesh.com> wrote:
>         >>
>         >> On Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 7:06 PM, Al Sweigart
>         <asweigart at gmail.com> wrote:
>         >> > It's in the meeting notes:
>         >> > https://noisebridge.net/wiki/Meeting_Notes_2013_12_17
>         >> >
>         >> > Basically, Danny blocks because other people would block.
>         Kevin blocks
>         >> > because Noisebridge is a collaborative space and majority
>         voting would
>         >> > undo
>         >> > or impinge on that. I encourage them (or anyone else) to
>         correct this
>         >> > description, but it's what I came away from the meeting
>         with. (And, of
>         >> > course, if Danny and Kevin don't have time to reply to
>         the list, that
>         >> > doesn't mean they implicitly agree with my description.)
>         >> >
>         >>
>         >> Al, I didn't block. It's the first week. You can't block
>         then. You're
>         >> just supposed to mull things around a bit, and chew a hay
>         stalk while
>         >> you do so. I am, however, allowed to express my opinion
>         that this
>         >> would not go anywhere. I may be wrong.
>         >>
>         >> > The "other people who would block" I can only take a
>         guess at, and half
>         >> > of
>         >> > them aren't even living in SF anymore. If I try to read
>         people's minds
>         >> > about
>         >> > this issue I'm going to fail; I'd rather have them chime
>         in on the
>         >> > mailing
>         >> > list or show up at a meeting if they have strong feelings
>         about this.
>         >>
>         >> Maybe a good way of finding out people's feelings is by
>         going through
>         >> the mailing list and reading people's replies every other
>         time you've
>         >> proposed this?
>         >>
>         >> d.
>         >>
>         >> >
>         >> > -Al
>         >> >
>         >> >
>         >> >
>         >> > On Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 6:49 PM, Rubin Abdi
>         <rubin at starset.net> wrote:
>         >> >>
>         >> >> Al Sweigart wrote, On 2013-12-18 18:44:
>         >> >> > The most common tactic in Noisebridge politics is to
>         get people to
>         >> >> > stop
>         >> >> > speaking up about issues.
>         >> >>
>         >> >> Then that sounds like an entirely different issue that
>         needs attention.
>         >> >> Don't cut off the finger when all that is needed is a
>         bandage.
>         >> >>
>         >> >> If I were you I would call out those members.
>         >> >>
>         >> >> --
>         >> >> Rubin
>         >> >> rubin at starset.net
>         >> >>
>         >> >
>         >> >
>         >> > _______________________________________________
>         >> > Noisebridge-discuss mailing list
>         >> > Noisebridge-discuss at lists.noisebridge.net
>         >> >
>         https://www.noisebridge.net/mailman/listinfo/noisebridge-discuss
>         >> >
>         >
>         >
>         
> 
> 
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