Meeting Notes 2014 09 30

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These are the notes from the The 328th Meeting of Noisebridge.

Note-taker: Nthmost; Moderator: Signal.

  • Strengthening the Cultural Immune System so we don't all have to get tetanus shots.

NB is an anarchist hackerspace, with one rule: Be Excellent. Come here and do cool stuff and projects. We provide infrastructure to enable the community to learn and make use of technology. —Rayc


  • James - runs Hack and Tell at 6pm on Tuesdays. brought a synth and testing a PA for the REMIX party.
  • John Shutt - runs Five Minutes of Fame, next one's
  • Jade - studied CompSci and Psychology in uni and still studying it here.
  • Kevin - machine learning and security
  • Michael - first time here. Friend suggested he come here. Just got the tour and "I'm gonna fit right in here."
  • Alex - my first hackerspace, want to combine biochem and robotics.
  • Logan - first time in any hackerspace.
  • Rob - been here a year and a half, a lot has changed here, I like all types of hacking.
  • Mike Kaan - been around since Noisebridge at 83C Wiese.
  • Monad - made a bunch of art around the space.
  • Pirate Matt - howdy.
  • Signal - machine learning, NLP, biology, long walks on the beach flying kites.
  • Nthmost - metabolic hacking, taking notes and lots of other things.
  • Torrie - crypto-anarchist
  • Mitch - cofounder of NB, made TV-Be-Gone, love to encourage ppl making a living from their passions.
  • N0Hat - human peak performance
  • J - voided the warranty on his Nintendo when he was a kid. Has truck.
  • Rayc - I use NB as my second Drupal consulting firm.
  • Alma - making antistatic head scarves.
  • Tazma - I come here periodically. Think I'll sew-hack.

Short announcements and events[edit]

  • Torrie: DORKBOT Oct 15th (wednesday), Berkeley, Stochastic Labs
  • Naomi: October 4th Party! Noisebridge Against Humanity playtest! Live music! Cobalt-60 BBQ sauce! Bring more!
  • Mitch: Lord Wei is here -- started a hackerspace in UK, looking for ways for HSes for communicate via phone and video.
  • Signal: Bay Area Consortium of Hackerspaces happening October 11th and 12th.
  • James: YBCA this Saturday (setup at 10am, public at 11am) -- NB has two tables reserved! Rikke's making an LED hoodie. Everyone's welcome to come and bring things large and small to show off! Talk to Mitch if you want to be part of it.
  • Rayc: I fixed the enlarge-o-scope
  • James: Next Party: Hacker Holiday Party November 22nd (weekend before Thanksgiving)
  • N0Hat: talk to me about hacking on sustainable architecture. Doing that this Saturday and the next.
  • Michael: Remember COINTEL? I'm studying the new COINTELPRO. Looking for ppl with expertise in protection from microwave technology.

Membership Binder [edit]

Membership involves this binder, and participation in the Consensus process. Members also pay dues. Everyone's welcome to participate, but Membership is an additional level of participation. The process involves putting in an application, getting 2 sponsors, and waiting 4 weeks, at which time we discuss Consensing on your membership. Recommend to take your time, get to know people, learn the ropes, contribute to the space. You'll know when you're ready to file an application.

Mitch: You can do absolutely anything in the space without being a Member except for full participation in the Consensus process, AND there are hours we are not open to the public based on whether a Member is in the space *and* will consent to have non-Members in the space.

  • Daniel Lewis -- 7 weeks in binder, no sponsors
  • Tristan Mosely -- 8 weeks in binder, no sponsors

Financial Report[edit]

  • Funds in bank: about $36,000
  • Noisetor: we have no idea, the page needs to be updated. Let's bother Andy Isaacson.

Consensus items[edit]

Proposals from last week [edit]


Proposals for next week [edit]


Discussion Notes[edit]

Mitch: Unwanted People in the Space[edit]

Harvey has been coming to the space for a while and was Consensed upon to be banned. He comes by frequently and steals mail from the Noisebridge mailbox. Claims its his, he is using our address to receive mail. Probably homeless. Capable of violence. When Mitch told him he wasn't welcome, Harvey ended up biting Mitch's thumb. Mitch had to go to the doctor and get a tetanus shot and a Hep-B shot.

PLEASE Take Harvey's Photo. We need to be able to share this info with other hackerspaces and the police.

We should collect the mail consistently so he has no excuse for coming here. He has a key for the gate.

If you see Harvey, call the police right away. There's a warrant out for Harvey's arrest now.

Broader discussion: there are ppl who have been banned from NB.

The Reboot was essential for NB's survival. NB used to be a place where ppl either felt like they couldn't be safe here or had no empowerment to get rid of predatory people. Sexual and racial harassment happened a lot.

Reboot gives us an opportunity to remind everyone that we are all empowered and OBLIGATED to say when something is Excellent or isn't Excellent. That's the only way we can attract and keep people who belong here, and people who don't belong here will filter out on their own with some gentle assertive nudging from everyone.

Occasionally there's a sociopath who needs to be shown the door and banned. Those ppl have to never come back here, b/c those ppl have not been willing to change behaviors. Other ppl are capable of self change and we should give them that chance.

Most of the problems come about after our Closing Hours -- people using excuses to get in, then just Using the space without contributing.

Signal: having a cultural immune system

Monad: Greeters and their actions should be supported by everyone. Hard to be effective without community support.

James: On the responsiblity side of things, there need to be people who are able to handle the mail do-ocratically.

(multiple people talk about how mail handling is part of the Greeter concept)

Naomi: Greeters may not be spun up to a reliable degree within a reasonable enough time-span to solve the problems in front of us. We need to come up with systems in parallel that don't require us to keep people signed up in shifts just to hold everything together.

James: Tip with Harvey -- say his name and he will respond, but he will never remember who you are, and he will not listen to anything you say. He will just do whatever he wants.

Kevin: I hear what Mitch is saying. I appreciate the metaphor of an immune system. I agree, but I consider it a disorder when the immune system starts attacking itself -- specifically people who have leveraged authority positions like Greeter for malicious intent.

Mitch: there def needs to be recourse for ppl who feel aggrieved by a Greeter.

Alex: we need an immune system. I was on the volunteer committee at BioCurious and it's VERY hard to keep shifts staffed. Let's work on setting up ways for asynchronous volunteering, letting ppl casually step up to do what's needed.

N0Hat: "MindOS" -- psychology from a boundary perspective -- if anyone wants to work on this from a building-blocks approach, let me know.

Mitch: adding to what Alex said -- everyone here should feel empowered & obligated to be part of the Immune System -- NB became a place where anyone who was bugged by buzzer going off would just let someone in and then walk away. All 7 billion ppl aren't welcome here. If someone feels like letting someone in and taking responsibility for them, GREAT!

James: We could change the front door key.

Pirate Matt: People just stand around and wait for someone to walk through the door. The 2nd floor workers use that gate too, we can't put our security issues on them.

John Shutt: let's set up

N0Hat: [...something about varying the approach rather than a hard and fast rule about door answering.]

Mitch: there's at least one person who has a top door key who shouldn't have one.

Pirate Matt: We're going to handle that thursday, change the lock (talk to Casey).

Monad: I have stuff for rekeying the locks.

Naomi: we have this discussion twice a year, for nearly as long as I've been here. It fails to provide any positive movement because of its focus on keeping people out. We need to focus on growing the community to include more people we trust.

Pirate Matt: do research first -- check the wiki before you make an issue of things that Noisebridge has already gone through.

Strengthening the Cultural Immune System[edit]

Naomi: how do we get more ppl in here on a regular basis that we really trust?

Mitch: discontinuities that changed Noisebridge -- Occupy people spent much time here and pushed the culture in a difficult direction for existing Members to take -- spreading the word about NB being a place you can squat in, take from. People started to not feel empowered to speak up or act when unexcellent behavior takes place. Used to be more orgs coming here and having events here. The Reboot is a purposeful discontinuity to turn our OS off and on again. We need to make it KNOWN that NB is a place ppl can come to see whether they can contribute to and benefit from.

N0Hat: If we take our natural instinct towards innovation & design, we can build, inspire.

Signal: reminder of October 4th party and BACH the following weekend.

Kevin: Positive retention from long-running classes. Neurohacking, Python, etc. Students become teachers over time, help each other, keep coming back in a positive way.

Mitch: It's always awesome here on Mondays! Jeffrey teaching JS as well. We never have problems on Mondays! Let's make every day operate like Circuit Hacking Mondays.

Signal: Fuck yeah.

RAYC: there's a want/need in the community for more classes. C or C++ programming, Machine Learning. Meteor framework, e.g. More classes in a wider variety.

James: Invite everyone you know to come teach here. that's when the space is at its best.

RAYC: Recommend ppl come talk to Jeffrey who has been teaching here for years.

(multiple people) Mentors!

James: When you're at the space, you really do have an impact. That's what creates the space and the community, for better or for worse. NB will not MAKE You successful but it will empower you to learn things. You can help fix things, etc. If you're just here and not doing things, it impacts the people around here. You have to ask yourself what you're getting out of being here.

Pirate Matt: huge thing about social Entropy. Lots of older members going away, lots of new people that kinda used it like a day room. People just used the kitchen, turning it into a place to squat. If you just need to use a computer, go to the library. We're not against learning, so if you're studying or experimenting, cool. But playing games, FB all day, that's an abuse of the space.

Signal: What I've seen since the Reboot is very much a reformation of community, closeness. There's a lot more cohesion, a lot more trust.

RAYC: NB in the early days had trolls too. Crutcher.

Naomi: You weren't there, it was different than that.

Mitch: Community is hard work. NB works despite trolls, despite ppl coming just to take. Some ppl have contributed more at some times, less at others. Collectively we've all made this happen. The cool thing about NB is that it still works.

Kevin: Flowing from the idea that community takes work: I have experienced lately that there is a particular kind of work that's been pushed to the side, which is resolving interpersonal conflict.

Pirate Matt: [i missed this comment, sorry]

Naomi: Yeah, trust -- we have about 40 Members on the rolls and hardly any of them are ever here. Meanwhile, there is a good amount of shared trust at this table right here, and most of you are not Members. Point: I tried to call a SSWG meeting consisting of at least 3 Members to form a quorum for Consensus, and found that I couldn't get a third Member. We need the SSWG to exist and to be an extension of the consensus-based trust embodied in the Tuesday meetings. How do we establish such a group in this context? Individually consense on SSWG members?

N0Hat: I'd be willing to put time into what Kevin's saying. I think the worst conflicts could have been resolved in the early stages.

Kevin: I would like to take this on. Personally speaking, i've been keeping my distance from that whole sphere as I felt kind of attacked. I felt attacked acting as a mediator...

Signal: you're clearly alluding to something specific and that's not this discussion.

Mitch: Part of what used to work and stopped working well was our procedures for resolving interpersonal conflict. This correlates with the Occupy era. When there were a lot of ppl here who belong here and support each other, looking out for each other, it's clear when someone has an interpersonal conflict -- that's not indicative of a systemic problem w/ NB. But problems build up over time as people don't feel empowered to address things, work things out. Then we have a wiki page of people who

Mike Kaan: One rule of mediation is to hold dicussions in a neutral zone, a place separate from the place of other party.

Pirate Matt: A strength of NB is loose / vague wording. Most anybody can figure out "Be Excellent". But that changes with WHO is in the space. What's tolerated in a larger group might not be in a smaller group. There are a lot of people who want hard/fast rules, black and white. I think that's dangerous -- it empowers ppl to game the system.

N0Hat: There are levels of lawfulness. People in tech tend to want automated systems. This doesn't work well for communities.

Alex: maybe the ppl who are interested in mediation, conflict resolution should get together w/ greeters.

Naomi: a lot of the people who desired automated, black/white systems found that to be an impossible game to play, and they are no longer here.

SSWG Issues[edit]

Kevin: I don't know if the SSWG is the appropriate venue for mediation.

Signal: there's definitely a difference between physical attacks and nebulous community issues.

(general agreement that Greeters meeting after this would cover some of this topic.)

Inspection! Get ever'ting ship-shape an' shine. Check. Check One.[edit]

Pirate Matt: THURSDAY NIGHT is a work night. We're going to knock out some drywall, do some painting, spot painting, cover over the back stairwell with new flooring.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED. Give an hour or hang out into the night.