[Noisebridge-discuss] A test of Excellence

Martin Bogomolni martinbogo at gmail.com
Tue Jan 15 20:37:10 UTC 2013

The Excellence Study is now over.  Here are the results:

>From October to January, five items were left in three spaces (
Noisebridge, Dallas Makerspace, UCSC ).  The items were:

*) A Casascius BitCoin, seal intact, in a small transparent envelope
labeled with a name, contact info, Do Not Hack
*) A 9.6V power screwdriver, with philips and slot-head bits, in a
case clearly labeled with a name and contact #
*) A box of assorted IC chips and parts from Make: "Electronics
Components Pack #2", in a case, clearly labeled with a name and
contact #
*) An Android phone, Samsung Galaxy S, loaded with CyanogenMod, with a
laser-etched name and contact on the back
*) A "DefCon 19" jacket, with a contact name inside the jacket in sharpie

Dallas Makerspace)

*) BitCoin - contact # notified, returned 11/1
*) Screwdriver was boxed, placed on "lost and found" area 10/20,
contact # called 10/24, returned 11/1
*) Make Components pack was placed on "lost and found" area 10/20,
contact # called 10/24, returned 11/1
*) Android phone was stolen 10/28, recovered after contact on 11/5 by
Dallas area pawn shop.
*) DefCon Jacket was placed in "lost and found" 11/15, contact  email
used 11/22, returned 12/21

UC Santa Cruz)

*) BitCoin went missing 11/9, re-appeared 12/8, placed in lost and found box
*) Screwdriver, Make Component Pack, were placed in a box labeled with
the name on the case, and retrieved 1/14/2013
*) Android Phone, Jacket were placed in a box labeled with the name in
the jacket, and retrieved 1/14/2013

NoiseBridge )

*) BitCoin was stolen on 10/14, BTC transferred on 10/15
*) Screwdriver and case was stolen on 10/18
*) Make Component Pack was opened on 10/24, some components scattered
into the electronics area and moved to member shelf area, mostly empty
case went missing from member shelf area 11/3
*) Android phone was stolen 10/15, pre-paid SIM was used all over the
bay area (mostly Berkeley) until 11/9, phone recovered from BART
police on 1/8 smashed/damaged
*) DefCon Jacket was stolen 10/18

Draw your own conclusions.  The experiment was interesting, but it
definitely points to some culture issues.


On Sat, Oct 13, 2012 at 9:08 AM, Martin Bogomolni <martinbogo at gmail.com> wrote:
> Any good experiment needs a hypothesis, and a way of testing that
> hypothesis with an experiment and a control.
> My hypothesis is that the operating principles of Noisebridge are not
> serving to increase, but rather to decrease, the average level of
> honesty and 'Excellence' in the space.   Specifically the current way
> things are set up socially inside of Noisebridge, with insufficient
> negative feedback/pressure on people to reinforce the social values
> that promote that kind of honest behavior.
> I have had two people leave five valuable things in Noisebridge.
> These things are useful to different people for different reasons.
> Five identical items have been left at the Dallas Makerspace, as a
> second social group with different rules.   Also at UC Santa Cruz'
> workshop as a control, as they have a strongly reinforced discipline
> of object ownership and storage.
> All are items a Hacker/Maker would have.
> One of them contains something intrinsically valuable if disassembled.
>   It will cease to work if that happens.
> All are clearly labeled as 'do not hack', with a name and identifying
> label for which member shelf they should be on.
> All have been placed in logical places, but not on a material or
> 'hack' shelf.   None are in their 'correct' location.
> None are worth less than $50.
> None of those labels has my name on it.
> The location of the items will be checked after a day, a week, two
> weeks, a month, and two months.
> I will publish the results after three months.
> -M

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