[Noisebridge-discuss] door "security": culture, not policy.

Eric W. Rasmussen ewr at majortek.com
Sat Mar 23 12:23:11 UTC 2013


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I’ve been watching this thread for a few days and I am disheartened to 
see that nothing has changed at Noisebridge. The same problems arise 
every few months and the same excuses / solutions are proposed. People 
talk and talk but nothing ever gets done. I left almost six months ago 
due to the problems being discussed and, coincidentally, some health 
issues. I’ve been considering a return but am having second thoughts.

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Noisebridge is a “Do-ocracy” in name but not in practice. I remember 
when I was new and had a question, a few of the veterans were openly 
hostile or apathetic. I decided to be the opposite*.*

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It seems like almost every time I tried to improve the space I got 
criticized in some way for my efforts. Once, I spent 16 hours cleaning 
up Hacker Alley. It was a wreck and I found the world supply of CAT5 in 
the process. Although I recieved a few appreciative comments, I received 
more complaints about how I didn’t organize it correctly (or that I 
shouldn’t throw away “junk”). I should remind you that I was relatively 
new and no one helped me... at all.

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People complain about “sleepers” in the space, but when I tried to kick 
one out I got very little support. The incident almost resulted in 
physical violence. Everyone in the area just**ignored the situation. The 
belly aching about the sleeping problem had been festering for weeks at 
the Tuesday meetings and I decided to do something about it. Did I 
receive any appreciation for kicking someone out that was already 
banned? NOPE.

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One time I decided to sweep and mop the entire space. It took about 3 
hours. When I reached the Hackatorium, the occupants didn’t even notice 
that I was trying to reach under the table. No wonder there is a theft 
problem. Everyone is so damned obtuse to their surroundings.

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One night I had too many possessions and couldn’t carry it all home on 
my bicycle. Absentmindedly, I had bought some stuff at the thrift store 
and also had three computers because I had just given my Linux class. I 
decided that I would leave my netbook in its leather briefcase on the 
Arduino shelf, which I was asked to help curate. I figured it would be 
safe overnight. NOPE. One of the members saw it on the shelf and took it 
out to the main work table.... where he left it unattended for hours (I 
have witnesses). Another user recognized it as mine and took it. I 
learned that my laptop had grown legs the next morning via email. I was 
ultimately blamed for this “theft” by not only the member that removed 
it, but by others as well. I was told that I shouldn’t have put anything 
on the “Member” shelf because I am not a “Member”.  The member went so 
far as to say that he thought it was a donation.

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Once, I caught a chronic thief steal money out of a donation box. Did he 
get banned? NOPE.  When an entire donation box was stolen, I took it 
upon myself to construct cables and locks to secure them. Also, I 
replaced the stolen one. When I tried to hand the keys to THE PRESIDENT 
of Noisebridge, she looked at me like I was some kind of asshole. I only 
asked her because Danny didn’t want the responsibility of having keys to 
the cash. Somehow, by replacing and securing the donation boxes using my 
own money, I became responsible for collecting the donations as well. 
And let’s not forget the cries, “We don’t believe in locks, man!”. Is 
that so? Well, I don’t believe in theives and I left the keys with a 
non-member on my last day. I hope you got them. Did anyone thank me for 
that? NOPE.

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I was usually willing to give a thorough and cheerful tour for 
newcomers. Sometimes I gave as many as 4-5 tours a day. Sometimes it was 
a burden, but it was one of my ways of giving back because I’m poor. At 
the end of every tour I would say, "OK. Hang out. Talk to people. If you 
have any questions I'll be over there".**Once I met a very smart, nice 
woman that I dated for a short while. Greeting people at the door is a 
great way to meet interesting people. That’s all I’m saying.

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I get it. Nerds are socially retarded. Weev, for instance. Why that 
asshole was never banned escapes me. People that defend that bigoted 
narcissist just don’t know him very well. It’s one thing to tell a joke 
that pokes fun at particular groups of people, it’s another to flaunt 
words like, “Faggot”, “Nigger” and “Bitch”, and mean it.

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The door is not the problem. There are six different ways to enter 
Noisebridge.

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A key

A code

Pony URL

Android App (also Pony)

Buzzing in

Being let in at the gate by someone else

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Solution:

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Always have a Floor Monitor on duty. When one leaves, a new person is 
elected. A TRUSTED person. This person would leave what he/she is doing 
once an hour (or so) and walk the space to make sure no one is 
sleeping/stealing. This person would moderate any disputes that arise, 
if any. In fact, it would be a good way of making someone with a limited 
income an “Honorary Member”. Shifts could be established. Would this 
person get paid? NOPE. It’s quid pro quo. It could also be part of the 
Membership petition. If a person wants to become a member they have to 
be a monitor for 8 hours a week for a month. I’m just grabbing numbers 
out of the air.

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“But that doesn’t jive with my anarchistic ideology”, says the Chaos 
Major. Whatever...

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The problem is that no one is taking responsibility for the space. Have 
I ever refused to let someone in? You betcha. Why? Because I didn’t know 
them and/or like their demeanor. I didn’t want to be responsible for 
them. It only happened a couple of times. But on the most part, I 
engaged people.

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You don’t have to act like the fucking TSA to have security and personal 
safety. You have to pay attention to the people around you and act on 
your instincts. You don’t have to be harsh, either. If someone is 
breaking a rule, correct it. If someone is not being EXCELLENT, call 
them on it (ahem, weev). Noisebridge lacks civility and authority.

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ACT AS IF

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**I'll keep watching the discuss list and decide at a later date if I 
want to return.
*

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