Meeting Notes 2014 08 19

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These are the notes from the The 322nd Meeting of Noisebridge.

Note-taker: Naomi; Moderator: Torrie.

  • Torrie Fischer has received the virulent bite of the Secretary, and shall receive all secretarial powers


  • Torrie — “not advisable for children” - I make robots.
  • Naomi — I do a lot of things!
  • Jade — involved w/ NB for almost 2 years, doing neurohacking and tutoring a 12-yr-old in Python!
  • Jean-Jacques — alt energy, laser cutter, 3d printer… been here for about 3 years… kitchen sink
  • Alex — biochemistry background, interest in Open automation… self sufficiency, interest in governance
  • Sasha — software/hardware developer
  • Anya — here w/ Sasha to meet new people
  • Neil — doing electrical for the Reboot, first here 5 years ago, did a video projection on COIT tower (want to do it again sometime!) — here to do an update and report, answer questions about remaining work.
  • Simon — “spy or visitor, if you will” — study chemistry, like to see how science & tech works outside business and academia.
  • Mitch — one of the cofounders of Noisebridge — travels the world giving talks and workshops. Circuit Hacking Mondays ftw!
  • James — show up on Tuesdays from 6 to 7pm for HACK AND TELL! The first one was tonight, went well.
  • Matt — REBOOT… that is all.
  • JC — I’m usually here or at Omni in Oakland for sudo room.
  • Emerson — hardware hacker. I can help you fix your computer.
  • J — came from LA about 5 months ago, discovered NB, like to play around w/ stuff
  • Danny — been working with the book scanning group
  • Kevin — really excited NB is opening back up. Co-host neurohacking, bg in biochemistry, getting deep into software.

Short announcements and events[edit]

  • Mitch: working on a sleeping mask called Neurodreamer that helps ppl fall asleep. Shows prototype. Almost ready for production.
  • Kevin: Shout-out to TechnoActivism Monday, which met last night. Recommend going. Danny O’Brien is leading it.
  • Naomi: Five Minutes of Fame
  • Matt & Torrie: THE FLOORS ARE DONE!
  • Go Sign Your Name on the Floor!
  • Alex: we’re brewing kombucha at Noisebridge again. Collaboration w/ Counter Culture Labs (quantitative).

Membership Binder [edit]

Mitch: The membership process is deliberately easy but nontrivial… [explains usual process]

Various ppl: Let’s talk about how we want to approach Membership going forward, after we read the binder.

  • Daniel Lewis - week 2, no sponsors.
  • Tristan Mosely - week 4, no sponsors.

Naomi: we’ve been discussing the CCC concept of not allowing or suggesting Membership applications until roughly 6 months have passed. We keep finding that, because Membership accords *only* the power to get in the way of Consensus, that the people who want to become Members quickly tend to be people that shouldn’t become Members.

Positive example: Jarrod — has been Excellent for years but only became a Member last week.

Negative examples: Cory, Sid, everybody in the binder whose name no one knows at these meetings.

Financial Report[edit]

  • Funds in bank: total unknown

Mitch: we just deposited about $13K !

Consensus items[edit]

Proposals from last week [edit]

Revoke Tom Lowenthal's Membership

  • Torrie: let’s revisit this.
  • Naomi: explains the history of this consensus item.
  • JC: proposes changing the wording to “Tom Lowenthal is no longer a member.”
  • Kevin: will reach out to Casey, Ron, and Madelynn

If the Sudo Room hackerspace in Oakland bans a person from their space for reasons of safety, that person is immediately and automatically banned from Noisebridge.

  • Kevin: reads Cory’s principled objection to this consensus proposal: I feel that any policy that has “automatic” “banning ppl” and “immediately” in it’s intentions, has no place in a Consensus driven organization such as NB.
  • Torrie: sudo room’s consensus involves room for intepretation.
  • Naomi: right, so if we’re going to bring something like this to NB, we should ask ourselves if the NB context for a rule worded like this will have the same effect as the sudo room rule.
  • JJ: we had a similar agreement w/ Occupy — our feeling was that if some other group felt someone was worth banning, we took it very seriously and trusted their judgement — protecting ourselves.
  • Naomi: this is also a question of protecting our TIME. We waste way too much time on a lot of people we can’t seriously accommodate, who demand way more of our time and energy than they bring back to us.
  • Kevin: Instead of “immediately and automatically banned” we say “not welcomed until explicitly welcomed”.
  • JC: so we’ll change the language, talk about it next week.
  • James: if someone assaulted someone at sudo room, I’d want to know that! Even just to *know* that.
  • Torrie: we can certainly effect this change culturally, but writing it down here makes it more real.
  • Mitch: Cory was banned from HayHackers b/c people didn’t feel safe in his presence. I think that kind of explains Cory’s objection to passing this.
  • James: where would this information become available? (implementation?)
  • Mitch: we’re just working on agreeing that we should do this, not necessarily on how it will be done.
  • Torrie: I plan on going to sudo room’s mtg tomorrow, seek out more collaboration. Maybe if we collaborate culturally more, we won’t need to worry so much about how things will come together.
  • Mitch: BACH exists to bring hackerspaces together to share resources; we’re talking about sharing information; we should lean on this organizational vector.

Proposals for next week [edit]

"If the Sudo Room hackerspace in Oakland bans a person from their space, that person will be considered unwelcome at Noisebridge until explicitly welcomed."

Discussion Notes[edit]

Neil’s Electrical Update[edit]

  • Neil: lots of great help today. Good that the space has started to be ACTIVE again. The main thing that was unexpected was how much *stuff* there was, and how much stuff we had to work around — mostly due to flooring activities.
  • Torrie: now the floor is no longer an issue, we can move things wherever we want.
  • Neil: the exit door is going away and the hot water/heater area is becoming Finished by a contracted carpenter. The emergency lights need to get done. Wiring and piping are going / have gone quickly. We got really good support from a guy named Tom (referred by Kevin) who came three days. Tim (my partner in this business) is back TODAY, so we’ll start to map when we want to do the Inspection. We’re going to use the built-in lights from the 1920s to satisfy code for lighting. The LED lighting fell through due to a flaky supplier. We’ll just set up desks w/ lamps to satisfy the inspectors.

Setting up the Space[edit]

  • Alex: Let’s talk about having working groups “own” various areas to keep them up
  • Torrie: should we talk about how to set things up or preventative measures to keep things up?
  • Naomi: we need to be careful to frame the conversation in terms of preventative measures, which imply
  • Matt:
  • Naomi: Area Hosts, PS:one has a system they really like.
  • Mitch: Area Hosts works really well in hackerspaces all over the world.
  • Matt: We should just get people to step up and really own a space, that’s how it’s worked in the past
  • Naomi: that’s also how it’s not-worked in the past — people get burned out or frustrated, and they leave and their place falls apart.
  • Kevin: I want to reestablish the Collaboration Station for neurohacking and stuff. Struggling w/ the idea of having dedicated computers like Chromebooks…
  • Torrie: let’s encourage ppl to keep the wiki updated and own the things they own
  • Praveen: that was a great facet of the first Noisebridge space, glad to hear you’re thinking about it.
  • Matt: Kevin, I suggest setting up the Collab Station over by the A/V area, it has ethernet drops and lots of outlets, relatively quiet.


  • Mitch: we’ve had a problem w/ people who don’t belong here, who don’t contribute, who don’t have any clue or care about the culture of NB, and they say unsavory things, sleep here, and otherwise make it uncomfortable for the people who do actually do things here. They should be kept away from here. If anyone slips in, we need people who can take point on accepting problems. Not everyone is suited to be able to say “get the fuck out!” Not everyone knows what noisebridge is about, not everyone knows… a lackadaisackal approach worked well in the first 2 years, but then Occupy happened, and a lot of them showed up and basically squatted the place. If all you want to do is a political action, this isn’t the place for it!
  • Mitch: Housing Hacking is NOT OK here!
  • Mitch: Sleep Hacking is NOT OK here!
  • Praveen: Noisebridge is political! It has to be a fine line.
  • Mitch: there are ppl who do belong here, and ppl who don’t.
  • Mitch: Greeters are there to make sure everyone knows when they come that we’re an anarchist organization, we have Consensus process, explaining our culture…
  • Mitch: We have to make sure there’s a continuity of culture.
  • Praveen: You have to have a counter in this. When we enacted our anti-harassment policy, i fought for housing status to be part of that. There are homeless people coming to Noisebridge and if we discriminate, we will crumble.
  • Torrie: There are resources that we can direct ppl to. We have that wiki page. It’s not in our best interests to violate the lease.
  • Naomi: We’re not saying “you can’t be here b/c you’re homeless”, we’re saying “don’t sleep here.”
  • Praveen: I agree w/ the no-sleeping policy, but we have to make this a safe space for everyone
  • Mitch: We don’t have to be a safe space for everyone.
  • Praveen: We don’t have to be a safe space for people who are not willing to participate in creating a safe space for others.
  • Mitch: Q of who belongs and who doesn’t will be a discussion at NB for a long time. These distinctions are true of all groups. The Greeters are here to be gatekeepers, to keep people who don’t belong out, to welcome ppl to check us out and see if they can benefit here and contribute back.
  • J: Let’s keep it simple! The purpose of NB is to learn, teach, explore, and create new things. If you’re not willing to do those things, then this is not the place for you.
  • JC: in the words of another of our illustrious founders, “Sleep at Noisebridge”. I would say you’re going to have a really hard time codifying that line, and if NB decides to Consense on any of that, I will spend very little time here. But I have a zero tolerance policy on snoring.
  • Mitch: the problem isn’t sleeping, it’s USING NB to sleep in. Ppl who come here TO SLEEP aren’t allowed here, period. 2 ppl i know of actually lived at NB and that was a positive thing. Steen living at 83C in the very beginning created a presence that made fewer drug users feel welcome to use the alley to shoot up. Frantisek lived here at 2169 and improved the space. They contributed & benefited.
  • Matt: I agree w/ that completely. Ppl want to make an issue of a person sleeping in the space when that’s the only negative thing you could say against them. The counterexample — a lot of us, Dan, Deja — spent a lot of time defending the space from Zombies, and once Dan was caught sleeping by Monad
  • Praveen: maybe the thing we write is, “you can only sleep if you can sleep Excellently”
  • [laughter]
  • Alex: we do ppl a disservice when we don’t explain where they are and what to expect. Sometimes people will go ask ppl who are there who are not Greeters, which can turn out all kinds of ways that may not create a good cultural outcome… hopefully if we do this properly, Greeters can become recognized for this important work.
  • Kevin: I did a stint as a Docent and thought it was kinda fun. It’s nice to meet ppl coming in the door, a pleasure. Being over-the-top enthusiastic is a good way of helping you discern who belongs and who doesn’t — got that from Mitch.
  • Mitch: Yeah — I shake their hand, ask what NB is about. “Oh it’s a hackerspace, do what you love, explore…! so what kind of things” — I’m overbearing. If they act all nervous I step up the enthusiasm. If they come back with “I’m totally excited about something that tweets when you flush!” then I”m pleasantly surprised. But people who kinda keep acting nervous, I suggest there may be other places in the city they would like to explore. Greeters should make sure ppl know what Noisebridge is FOR and discourage people who don’t belong from staying here.
  • Mitch: The problem hours are definitely the wee hours, and after whatever arbitrary hour we pick, Greeters should close up. If there’s not a Greeter at the door, NB is not open to the public, it’s open to Members in Good Standing and their guests, who Members take responsibility for (if Member leaves, guest must leave as well).
  • J: In a short time I came to enjoy what the essence of this place was, to the point where I want to be a Greeter, to be part of the solution… so, sign me up… I work very hard but I’m willing to spend some weekends on this.
  • Torrie: When you start regularly doing the process of guarding the space, it becomes easier. You ask guests to leave when you’re the last Member in the space, and you become more comfortable transferring responsibility to other Members when you are on your way out.
  • Mitch: passing guests between Members can create MORE social
  • Kevin: Are you taking point on getting Greeters together?
  • Mitch: yeah, working on that. initial group will be taking on a lot of hours but hopefully we’ll spin up more volunteers soon.