Meeting Notes 2014 12 02

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These are the notes from the The 337th Meeting of Noisebridge. Note-taker: Torrie "tdfischer_" Fischer; Moderator: John Shutt.

  • One or two bullet points of high-level meeting summary.
  • Discussion about our Reboot inspections. There IS light at the end of the tunnel!
  • Handing out upstairs keys and the mechanics of our circle of trust
  • Consensus proposal to fill the space with wasps and burn it down

(RAYC introduces what Noisebridge might be)


  • John - Does tor services and bookscanners and has a hat/crown
  • Patrick - Software "engineer" working on hardware and security outside of work
  • Scotty - Been trying to get the mini lathe up and running. If you see a tail stock, lemme know!
  • David - Works for Cirque du Solei, head of robots (organizationally speaking [has a human head])
  • Victor - Just moved to the city. RF engineering at apple.
  • Yannick - Moved to the city. Works for Tivo.
  • Matt - Biologist. Not a lot of computering skills; wanted to check out the space as a good way to learn. Just finished my postdoc with some sort of bioreactor. I want to build bigger and cheaper versions to grow photoreactive bacteria!
  • Teapot - iOS developer, also interested in internet freedom and building the mac and open source communities
  • Torrie - Cryptocurrency/security/sandboxing
  • Doctor Andrew Dufries, an actual doctor of botany. Enticed by the bookscanner thing. Trying to do some natural language processing on the results. Doing a ton of work on documenting the bookscanner.
  • Joe - Works on python and wifi stuff. You know.
  • RAYC - RAYC. "Professional" "meeting" "announcer".
  • Mohamad - Fluid mechanics engineer. Got into programming, electronics, and how things work. I love this place and enjoy being around people like this. I love you all.
  • Joseph - Visiting from Montanna. Programming.

Short announcements and events[edit]

  • RAYC sez: our serger was fixed. They're part of a local theatre group, spent $150 on the machine and would love to have others kick in towards that. She wants to support the sewing/crafting groups and get those going again.
  • John sez: Getting the bookscanner setup again. I have some cameras that the internet archive donated to us, along with a bunch of scripts and tools. I'm feeling good about the security situation of Noisebridge, but it'd be super excellent for folks to keep an eye on them. The entire scanner is, like, there. And we can scan books.
  • Teapot adds: I'm working on putting together Mac Hack Night in the middle of december. if you're interested in Apple tech and hacking on them, let me know! We've got a Powerbook G4 and iMac G3 sitting on the shelves that look usable but are currently not working. Teaching newbies how to git and xcode and homebrew, etc. Getting folks onboard with using strong crypto on their devices.
  • Patrick goes on: John and I are wanting to do a keysigning party at Noisebridge in the near future. Probably after next Tuesday meeting. In december there will be a software defined radio meetup in december. Casey will want to put on a smaller event before that to get folks introduced to SDR to make the bigger event more useful to those attending. Thirdly, I'm trying to set up a "planet", a collective blog aggregator for noisebridge community folks. You either blog once a week or buy beer. If there's enough beer, we get together and drink beer. We've got 3-4 people, if you want signed up let me know.
  • Mo sayeth: After the reboot, NB became really nice and good for working on things! Its important that we keep the space clean. I'd like to build an online calendar of things that need done periodically that folks can add their name to it and sign up for responsibilities. I don't know how to build it, but I want to help make it and collaborate on it.
  • Torrie: Indiegogo stuff is finally getting shipped out! We have all the hoodies and sweaters in the back corner. We have all the crowns here. 45 keys are ready, but some painting work remains. Envelopes are stuffed – we just need to buy stamps and boxes, and ship stuff out. Volunteers appreciated! You can be reimbursed if you ship things out. We still need at least six more super-cool things to ship out - examples include a flaming helmet. These people gave a bunch of money to the space and deserve cool stuff. John will contact Jay on wrangling some of these things.
  • Rayc adds: We had an electrical inspection! We failed fantastically! We have to lower the lightswitches in classrooms, set emergency lights on a dedicated circuit (done today), they'll be back on Thursday. After that we still need the building inspector to show up. There are a lot of loose ends that still need tied up. It comes after we pass the electrical. I've been adding things to the Trello board for us to get things moving. A floor needs finished, among other big things.

Membership Binder [edit]

  • Steve Young - Week 3
  • Sam Tapper - Week 2

Financial Report[edit]

  • Funds in bank: approximately $22,000.
  • Noisetor: Mixed in with that money. Its got some balance, and some quantity of liabilities. Patrick is working to separate Noisebridge and Noisetor financials such that all of this is less fragile. Noisetor has about 40 BTC in its wallet, Noisebridge has about 7. They'll be liquidated into actual cashmonies soon.
  • Financials are a rats nest and they're getting untangled.

Consensus items[edit]

Proposals from last week [edit]

  • RFID keys may be distributed in order to grant users access to Noisebridge. Keys should be seeded at the whim of the makers of the RFID access control system. Distributors of the keys should have the ability to distribute keys with two permissions: One permission grants actual access, the other permission grants the ability to distribute new keys with one or both permissions.
    • Patrick: Lets discuss this. First, some background: Pre-reboot, Noisebridge had a problem with people abusing the space by using it, effectively, as a halfway house. Few of those people weren't contributing positively to the space. It brought a lot of entropy to the space, which also drove people who do belong at Noisebridge away from the space. This crisis caused the 2014 Reboot. The major issues Noisebridge faces is protecting the space from letting that happen again. Noisebridge used to be open all the time which allowed people who don't belong at noisebridge to be at noisebridge. This proposal is some way of finding a balance between keeping people who do want to contribute, while still protecting the space from entropy.
    • Scotty - How does this work right now?
    • Patrick: The top door is a physical key, different from the bottom.
    • RAYC: Only a few select elite few have the ability to open the top lock whenever they please. Usually, people are here 24/7/365 to counteract that by keeping the space open for hacking.
    • Scotty: Did it get closed last night?
    • RAYC: Nope. People were hacking and we chose not to close it.
    • Mo: I've been coming here for over a year. I've seen the change since before the reboot. The people who come here are awesome and there hasn't been any problem in the last month. Everything is working perfect and there are no problems. If people come here and cause problems, they don't see the place as it used to be and leave.
    • Scotty: When was the last time we closed the space?
    • Torrie: I've been hanging around the space late at night. It's never really been awful or bad. I was also in the space overnight pre-reboot, and it was completely different. I am a capital-M Member, but I trust the people I leave behind at the space to close the space, which has worked out without any significant issues whatsoever. It's been more than three weeks since we've intentionally shut down the space entirely, but we've soft-closed the space by asking untrusted people to leave.
    • Teapot: One note about the particulars of this. I like the overall concept of having an RFID system to allow access and to distribute tokens. The way I understand is is that this proposal allows others to add folks to the space which would allow the trust tree to grow exponentially and eventually permit someone into the space who doesn't belong in the space. One adjustment would maybe be to be selective about who has the ability to issue RFID access. Perhaps an experiment of a fully functional RFID system before expanding too much more.
    • RAYC: Historically, if anyone asked for a key they could have a key. It was like that for many years then problems started surfacing. There are still members in the community who are against the idea of locking the space down and making it totally restricted to certain groups. If there are problematic people in the community, they should be dealt with rather than blocking access. I feel that the current access policy is a form of discrimination, classism, etc. Previously there were a bunch of people making the space Members only hours where the only difference in access is those who have been consensed upon as a member. As for distribution of keys, I think there should be a better circle of trust model where not everyone is able to distribute keys.
    • Patrick: I'm in favor of the space being as open as possible, but the problem with physical keys is that they cannot be easily revoked. Now at least we have the ability to revoke the access of bad actors. While the RFID system is unfinished, the folks with upstairs keys are terrified about what happens when a bad actor gets an upstairs key. The upstairs door is the only line of defence since the downstairs gate can be effectively considered gone.
    • Mo: This space is an awesome space. Lots of folks use it, every week its different, every month its different. I like the idea of RFID, we just need to find out a way of implementing how to distribute keys. We should only give keys to human beings we know. It makes a difference when you walk in here and you know everyone and what they're working on.
    • Teapot: With the idea of being able to revoke tokens, it'd be a good solution that would work to keep bad actors from having 24/7 access to noisebridge. I think before we get there, we'd want consensus on how tokens are revoked.
    • RAYC: In Ye Olden Days, we had a keypad system where you could hand out a keycode. If you could find out which code contributed to letting someone in, you could cut off the entire branch of the trust tree.
    • John: I think its a good idea to keep it limited to a small number of people who can give out codes, but we should be pretty liberal about giving out access.
    • RAYC: There might be a mob mentality around the elite group of folks who can grant access to grant access.
    • Patrick: There's a middle point where if you're around noisebridge enough, you'll run into the same people.
    • Scotty: I think I have a different perspective on this. I actually think the situation with having a very limited set of top-door keyholders is good. I'm very heasitant to add more people to that set. When we've broadly given that ability to people, it leads to bad problems. Our current situation isn't too far off from being able to get into the space at all times of the day. It sounds to me like the space hasn't been closed 24/7 for the past few weeks. I'm wondering if we're viewing the top door as a status symbol, not so much as an access control issue.
    • RAYC: There are a few other factors keeping us from slipping back into what we had before. There is a bigger number of people actually hacking on the infrastructure of the space. Also, compared to before, the quality of our tooling is a lot better than before the reboot. If you look at the number of folks here to just hack on things and learn, it is hella more. I've been hacking on the space for four years. I've noticed that now there are people hacking on things and the effect it has on unwelcome individuals coming to the space is tremendous. Now that there are more people hacking on things, it has been building on itself and bleeding over into evening hours.
    • Scotty: I totally agree, but I think some of that may be springing forth from the limited number of upstairs keys.
    • RAYC: The RFID system will likely be approached in a more eye-opening thing since it is electronics and people can effortlessly revoke and add new tokens. It has a very positive factor towards access control. I like where we are with limited keyholders, but the infrastructure and community dynamics aren't here yet for us to say "Lets scale it up to everyone." Lets keep it where we are +/- a small few of people.
    • Mo: We should keep it open for the community, but closing it wouldn't make it Noisebridge.
    • John: I'm trying to understand how the consensus proposal would change the current system and how it works.
    • Torrie: It's not that different. We have a small number of people with upstairs keys, which is good and keeps us safe, but I agree with RAYC that we should perhaps add a few more people to that group.
    • Mo: Many times I've been here to help, many times the electrician is here at 8am and we need to find a way to open up the space for him.
    • RAYC: As for practicality, there are other spaces that are open 24/7/365 that don't experience the woes of Noisebridge. I want to point out that hacking doesn't end when the space closes.If we were in a safer neighborhood, we wouldn't have to worry about these dynamics. But because of what Noisebridge has been built on top of, to say that we're adding new barriers to entry would mean to say that we're patching exploits on top of NoisebridgeOS. Theres nothing stopping anyone from replacing the upstairs lock and handing out new keys. The current one didn't go through consensus. Anyone could doocratically change the lock and claim that the current lock was unexcellent.
    • John: Is there anyone actually suggesting that they'll physically replace the lock?
    • RAYC: There's been conversations.
    • John: I'm wondering why we can't just give out a small number of keys right now. My worry is that the consensus process can get legalistic and we'd end up codifying this.
    • RAYC: There are trusted people in the community who are saying that this is totally unexcellent and would want to put a new lock on the upstairs door to hand out keys with more gusto. They feel that unexcellence has been committed.
    • Scotty: I'd like to revisit the meme of the hacker hopping off the plane and showing up at noisebridge at 2am. Thats a meme that keeps coming up; that we have to be open at 4am just to support these rando hackers who come off the plane. I don't think thats a particurally useful purpose considering how we live in the mission of SF. I think if someone comes to the space and sees that it is closed, they'll come back the next day and the space will still be there. Having a large number of people with access to the space early in the morning does not lead to good things.
    • Torrie: We briefly had overnight members-only hours; in practice, this leads to the current system. It's more of a community issue: We need to make sure that only people who we trust to deal with the space get left in the space. Mo and RAYC have both done this excellently. The point is: It's about trust, and who you trust to be in the space. If you want to set strict hours or draw a line in the stand, it won't happen.
    • Scotty: I didn't want to be misconstrued as saying there would be specific hours, but I don't want to think there should be broad access to everyone.
    • Torrie: That's kind of how I've implemented it.
    • RAYC: I've been hacking the tours I give because of things moving around. When people ask about Noisebridge, I explain that after hours we ask untrusted people to leave the space. The space can close at any time when anyone thinks there are a number of people around that nobody wants to deal with. As for the hackers from other spaces thing, I'm not necessarily presenting that as an argument, but as a desirable outcome of whatever access control policy we decide on. As for the community, I think we can represent the idea of a circle of trust in the system that we're building.
    • John: I wanted to make a meta-point. Lower-case-c consensus is usually better than big C consensus. Rules are important to put in place to stop abuses when they're found. For example, the harassment policy. I think it would be important to put a specific rule in place to specify who can grant access if the access granters became tyranical. That isn't the case, so I think we can discuss it offline and change it if we need to.
    • Torrie: Talking about the circle of trust issue - I've only been around the space physically for about 5-6 months, but in that time I've noticed changes in the circle of trust. There are people who don't necessarily trust the late night crew, and want to shut down the space at night because that's what The Rules say. Two of these people were in the space recently, and I asked them if they wanted to shut down the space overnight before leaving. They said no, despite having wanted to close the space and ask a certain person/people(?) to leave two months prior.
    • Patrick: All of this discussion is completely worthless if trust is not found amongst the people in the community. This proposal has been a very good vehicle for discussion. The space has been open for something like a month non-stop, and the trust relationships have maintained the quality of the space. Without people and trust, all of this is nothing.
    • RAYC: This is also comradarie and cohesion within the space. A huge benefit to this has been Slack. We succumbed to drama going back and forth across discuss@. The nimbus of negativity on the mailing list drowned out all positive things and pushed away people. With Slack, people are now discussing the space in a much more positive manner. If someone comes up, more people are able to tune in and work towards problem solving. We're implementing some patterns that act as a catch-all for negative dynamics. It has been successful, and we're discussing the further evolution of the pattersn. The fact that this proposal was proposed and resulted in such rich dialog is really exceptional and awesome. More people are coming together to solve this.
    • Patrick: I'd like to propose that we've come to a convergance point and we can discuss this outside the meeting. Like, right after the meeting.

Proposals for next week [edit]

  • Torrie: I propose that we burn down the space.
    • RAYC: I say we burn it at the beach.
    • Patrick: Wasps nests for everyone at Noisebridge.
    • John: Obligatory wasps nests.

Discussion Notes[edit]

  • RAYC brings up reboot inspection:
    • RAYC: We failed with flying colors! This is a learning place and we learned a lot. The electricians lowered the switches, the emergency lighting is on its own circuit. Electrical llama on Thursday. The bigger issue now is the building llama. Check the Trello board for deets: <RAYC lists the things on the board>. Building llamaor is coming sometime next week. If you've got any interest with basic carpentry, show up and help! No experience needed. If you know of any artists who would like to canvas the space, let me know ASAP. Once the building inspection is done, we are OUT OF THE FUCKING REBOOT AND WE CAN BURN THE SPACE DOWN!!! :D
  • Patrick: Just to note: If you're leaving Noisebridge at night, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE check and lock the sliding glass door. The awning downstairs at Mi Ranchito is ripped and torn from the wall because someone tried to climb it and get in. It is an access point that can be foiled by locking the fucking door. If you rocked it violently you might be able to open it which needs fixed. If you see people going out there, get them off. It is against the lease and there is no reason for anyone to be out there. The downstairs neighbors get things falling on their things, etc, its just no good.
  • RAYC: I'm creating a trello board as well with more classes and things that folks want, like using Eagle, KiCAD, building embedded systems, microcontrollers, etc.
  • Torrie: What's up with the laser cutter?
    • Patrick / RAYC: We have one. We don't want it in the space until after the inspection.
  • Torrie: Please learn how to lock the elevator, and please learn how to not lock yourself out. You'll figure it out.
    • Scotty: Has anyone done this?
    • Torrie: I have! I also happened to have an upstairs key.
  • RAYC: With new classes, opportunities for learning, etc, I encourage folks to also host workshops and common meeting places for group projects. If the space is deficient in some aspect, talk with folks and collaborate to make it Excellent!
  • RAYC: We should introduce more folks to Slack
    • Torrie: If you want an invite, email me. There are a few other people who can do this, but I don't know who they are.
    • RAYC: The mailing list is more of a fallback these days. Seriously. Get on slack.