[Noisebridge-discuss] Keeping associate members in their place

Al Sweigart asweigart at gmail.com
Thu Dec 19 22:10:45 UTC 2013


To clarify, the questions I had were intended for the thread at large, not
specifically at Danny. I'd like to hear other people's replies on this
thread.

Danny, I'll reply to you off-list (we've probably been dominating this
thread. My emails have been at least).


On Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 2:00 PM, Danny O'Brien <danny at spesh.com> wrote:

> On Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 1:02 PM, Al Sweigart <asweigart at gmail.com> wrote:
> > DANNY, I AM BEING UPFRONT AND DIRECT WITH YOU. I'm not feigning
> ignorance or
> > whatever bad faith stance you're implying I have: I do "kinda-sorta"
> have an
> > idea what people's arguments for and against are. But I don't *know* what
> > people exactly think about replacing consensus with majority voting. I
> > assumed Leif was alright with overnight sleepers a week back, and he
> said I
> > was dead wrong about that. I can guess he's in strongly in favor of
> > consensus exactly as it is currently, but at this point I want to avoid
> > assuming and would rather people state their views on this; THEN I have
> > something to work with.
> >
>
> I know! It's just a little hard to believe![1] We're in a vim and
> emacs battle here, and I admit that, as a de facto representative of
> an entire (and somewhat obscure) body of thought, it can be hard to
> convey that. It's also okay -- I spend my day job (which I will VERY
> SHORTLY RETURN TO, people reading this at work!) explaining why the
> perfectly reasonable and commonplace institution of copyright has
> flaws, why filtering obscene content is problematic, why patents don't
> improve innovation, and why anonymity is a good thing. I'm not unused
> to explaining ideas that half the world thinks are insane, and the
> other half view as uncontroversial truths.
>
> [1] Note that -- and I was perhaps not as clear as I should have been
> -- I was saying that while I am frustrated enough to think you are
> acting in bad faith, assuming so would be to falling victim to the
> same bad behavior as I am accusing you of. So I won't do that.
>
> > Otherwise, I'm fishing in the dark, I'm going to miss people, and have to
> > deal with other people accusing me of working on bad faith by skipping
> over
> > them or by making straw man arguments because I'm not addressing the
> reasons
> > they actually have.
> >
> > Once again, I completely welcome and would appreciate people who are in
> > favor of consensus to make their viewpoints known. Discussing this, on
> the
> > list and in person, is how we can resolve things. Are you in favor of
> > consensus? Are you in favor of replacing consensus with majority vote?
> > Simple or clear majority? If not majority vote, are there changes to
> > consensus you're more agreeable with?
>
> So, as a quick exercise, maybe you could re-read my previous messages,
> and extrapolate from those what I think? You've been doing pretty good
> at that,beyond the assumption that I and Kevin decided to block you
> (which we didn't) based on us wanting to snatch power away from
> everyone else.
>
> And as I said, I'd like to give some recorded talks about this at
> Noisebridge. It's a format that I like, it means that I don't have to
> repeat myself so many times, we can draw in input from others, and
> even if we switch to majorities, it'll be a useful historical record.
> Woohoo Federalist papers!
>
> >
> > (Kevin, I still owe you that off-line email, but I think I can make it to
> > the space this evening after all.)
> >
> > -Al
> >
> >
> > On Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 12:24 PM, Danny O'Brien <danny at spesh.com> wrote:
> >>
> >> On Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 12:12 PM, Al Sweigart <asweigart at gmail.com>
> 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?
> >> >
> >>
> >> You're asking for a fairly major and fundamental change; part of
> >> getting that to work is to positively engage with everyone. Whatever
> >> system you're in, if you're pushing for change, it falls on you to try
> >> and engage with others. Sorry!
> >>
> >> Maybe I have been soaked in discussion of the pros and cons of
> >> consensus for too long, but I do sort of think that you actually know
> >> a lot of these arguments, but you're adopting a kind of rhetorical
> >> stance of ignorance to try and bait people to debate you within your
> >> own framing. To say that is really to adopt the same stance as I'm
> >> criticising, which is to imply bad faith on your opponents.
> >>
> >> Given that you're somewhat pulling me back into doing Noisebridgian
> >> stuff (uhh thanks i guess), I am tempted to do a bunch of talks on
> >> Noisebridge process and thinking. At the very least, it would be fun
> >> to go over the lessons of the last few years and codify them, and I
> >> think it will help disabuse ideas like consensus is a powergrab by
> >> members...
> >>
> >> d.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> > 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
> >> >> >> >
> >> >> >
> >> >> >
> >> >
> >> >
> >
> >
>
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://www.noisebridge.net/pipermail/noisebridge-discuss/attachments/20131219/72e3c397/attachment.html>


More information about the Noisebridge-discuss mailing list