[Noisebridge-discuss] proposal for noisebridge membership changes

Leif Ryge leif at synthesize.us
Wed Oct 2 00:09:55 UTC 2013


On Mon, Sep 30, 2013 at 02:10:29AM -0700, Jake wrote:
> Last week it was proposed that Noisebridge make changes to our
> access policy.  The basic idea is that if someone is a Member or
> Associate Member of Noisebridge, they are allowed to be in the space
> at any time (with the usual exception of leaving when asked for
> conflict resolution purposes)
> 
> Further it should be that if someone who is not a Member or
> Associate Member of the space, they can be in the space if they are
> the guest of a Member or Associate Member who is present.
> 
> In most ways this will cause only a subtle ripple in the way
> Noisebridge has been working until now.  If a person is in the space
> and the person who let them in has left, if they are not doing
> anything objectionable it is unlikely that anyone will even ask them
> if they have a sponsor.
> However, if someone is being unexcellent and there is no one present
> who is their sponsor, it is now possible to ask the person to leave
> due to no fault of their own.
> 
> This is very valuable, because up until now it has been necessary to
> wait until someone does something fucked up, and then try to use
> that as a lever to get them to leave.  This generally leads to
> unpleasantness, especially since you are inherently asking someone
> to admit to wrongdoing by the act of leaving voluntarily.  This has
> been nothing but trouble the whole time, and 90% of the time when
> someone is being shitty, our response is to let it continue because
> the alternative is getting in an argument with an asshole.
> 
> From now on, with this new arrangement, Noisebridge is by default
> open only to Member and Associate Members and their guests.  Of
> course anyone who rings the doorbell is very likely to be let in by
> a Member or Associate Member, and is sponsored by the person who
> lets them in until that person leaves or ends the sponsorship (in
> case of a bad fit for that person at noisebridge).  If a person
> without a sponsor is present and a problem comes up, any Member or
> Associate Member can volunteer to be their sponsor if one thinks
> they should stay and continue hacking (after solving the problem
> with their new sponsor's help).
> 
> I see this as a win for all visions of Noisebridge access policy,
> since it takes away nothing from what we can choose to do, and it
> gives us so much more freedom to do what we need to do without
> insulting people who need to leave.
> 
> I think the most important aspect of this arrangement is the concept
> of Accountability.  If a Member or Associate Member does something
> questionable at noisebridge, there is definitely a way to contact
> that person to discuss the situation, and almost certainly a friend
> of theirs who is also a Member or Associate Member who can help
> facilitate problem solving.  This is how we maintain the excellence
> of our community and environment, by Accountability.
> 
> With Guests, there is no inherent accountability.  When someone
> walks in the door and is greeted by no one, and answers to no one,
> they have been told no rules and there is not even a person who they
> can ask questions about what is appropriate for our space.
> 
> With this new system, every person who is let in the door is likely
> to be introduced to a specific person who will explain, "You are my
> guest here, and if there are any issues such as with another person,
> you can come to me or use my name as your sponsor, as long as I am
> here." This means that every new person is immediately granted
> accountability to our network through a Member or Associate Member
> as their proxy server.
> 
> Any guest who, for example is told that they should not be sleeping
> on the couch in the library, will either answer by correcting their
> behavior (hopefully), or they will involve their sponsor somehow
> (perhaps by invoking their name as a defense of their activity).  At
> that point their sponsor, who as a Member or Associate Member has
> accountability to the community, can be asked to solve that problem
> in a productive way.  When they come to their Guest and affirm that
> their invitation did not extend to permission to sleep in the
> library, the guest sees it coming from the same person who
> originally let them in and thus has the right to make them leave if
> they don't stop fucking up.
> 
> If the person sleeping in the library isn't able to produce a Member
> or Associate Member who is present at the time, and none who are
> present want to sponsor them at that time, they can be asked to
> leave due to no fault of their own, but simply because it is
> noisebridge policy.
> 
> One justification for this policy is that Noisebridge Members and
> Associate Members look out for one another by protecting the space
> and the people in it from those who are not excellent enough to
> attract a sponsor. We do that for each other so that we can benefit
> from the improved culture and environment, as well as decreased
> entropy and theft, that resluts.
> 
> I am out of town so i won't be able to participate in the meeting,
> but two things I wanted to emphasize are:
> 
> 1:  I don't think we should do it this way part of the time, i think
> we shoud be this way 24/7 all the fucking time.  anyone who comes in
> the door gets introduced to a person who will sponsor them at that
> time, or alternately give them a quick tour and then an invitation
> to come back another time, or perhaps there are no members in the
> space who want to sponsor a guest at that time and the person
> doesn't get to come in.  I think this last option will happen very
> infrequently but if it does, I don't think we're losing anything.
> If a person was going to come to noisebridge but there was nobody
> there who wanted to give them a tour/introduction, they are better
> off coming back another time.
> 
> 2:  Remember that this is a subtle change.  The biggest practical
> effect is that it makes it possible to tell someone (who has NO
> sponsor) that they have to leave due to no fault of their own, but
> simply because of policy.  This is a problem-solving feature and a
> de-escalation strategy of which we should recognize the value.
> 
> So, come tuesday, pass the fucking thing and don't limit it to
> certain hours.
> 
> -jake
>
> P.S. the typo was on purpose to see if you were paying attention.

My impression is that most people who have become involved with Noisebridge
over the years would have been prevented from doing so by this policy. People
arrive, they don't know anybody, and the fact that they're welcome is usually a
critical part of what causes them to do awesome stuff at Noisebridge. If they
are instead told that they're only welcome when or if someone is being
responsible for them, well, that would be a very different experience and I
think it would lead to significantly less awesome happening.

This is literally[1] a proposal to kill the golden-egg-laying goose.

~leif

1: http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/literally

ps: the wording on the Current_Consensus_Items wiki page is nothing like the
proposal above; it says "modify open hours so that nights are open-access to
Members and to guests of any sponsoring Member also present in the space"

pps: the misspelled word is in the first sentence of the 3d-to-last paragraph
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