Meeting Notes 2015 03 10
These are the notes from the The 501st Meeting of Noisebridge. Note-taker: pemulis; Moderators: J.
- THE NOISEBRIDGE COMMUNITY HEREBY CONSENSES THAT board nominations close on March 17th, and elections will finish on April 14th, the elections will be approval based, and Kevin will be the electioneer. Bounce houses are excellent and we should have more members and Noisebridge is broke.
- Agnes: First time here. Brought to the space looking for community hubs to host something called Global Sisterhood Day.
- Jessica: First time here, checking out the space. Doing hacky fun art plus woodworking plus other types of projects.
- Andrew: Moved to SF eight months ago, learning Python, heard about this place from a friend.
- Arjund: Also recently moved here, interested in getting into wood carving.
- Joff: Meaning to check out this place for six months. Excited to build cool things here!
- Carl: Been coming here for a few years. Software developer, writes mobile apps.
- Mitch: One of the co-founders, teaches soldering when here in SF, travels 2/3rds of the year, makes a keychain to turn TVs off.
- John: Sunglasses, SecureDrop.
- Damon: Understanding functional programming.
- Edmund: From New Orleans, visiting lots of hackerspaces around the country.
- Josh: Likes decentralized things and cooperative stuff.
- Henner: Writes software in the daytime and hacks hardware and woodwork at night.
- Cameron: Has been here a few times before. Likes to come here to write software on the side.
- Torrie: Crypto-anarchist, gets kicked out of hackerspaces, that's it.
- Casey: In the corner not participating, swooping off the Berlin. Ordered a bunch of WiFi cards and wants to meet people who know Lua.
- Ron: A dude, hacks on things occasionally.
- Scotty: Digital nomad, SF is the center of his orbit, just got back from southeast Asia. Brought stickers from hackerspace in Singapore.
- J: Has been in SF for about a year. Came to Noisebridge and the Bay Area because of places like this. This is what he wanted to do since he was a kid. Can fix your Nintendo.
- Daniella: Noisebridger for about three years. Inventor, has a company called Polyglot, and a multilingual keyboard about to launch in the app store for iOS 8.
Short announcements and events
- John: Digital archivists meeting tomorrow! New metal scanner from Daniel Reetz, book scanning workshop from Dr. Andrew DeFries.
- Mitch: I'm going to SXSW tomorrow. I'm giving a reading from the chapter I wrote for "Maker Pro", a book about making a living from your project.
- Mitch: Holding an Arduino for Total Newbies workshop on Sunday the 29th. For true beginners! There's an event on the wiki. An Arduino is a little board with a microcontroller. You can make lights blink! Noises! Robot controllers! Water your garden! Feed your cat! Tweet when your toilet flushes! Designed for non-geeky artists to be able to put tech into your stuff without spending years in university learning. An hour and a half is enough to learn the basics. Learn how to solder and everything you need to know about electronics to run an Arduino. More info.
- Mitch: On the 30th, Circuit Hacking Monday. Come to learn to solder, and get/give help with your hardware projects. Plenty of cool kits available to learn with. Special one on the 30th: Other Machine, a local company, is going to give a demo of their open source CCC milling machine.
- Mitch: Every year I lead a trip to China to visit hackerspaces, schools, and manufacturing facilities. There's another Hacker Trip To China this year! Check the wiki. $635 round-trip tickets to Hong Kong (email Mitch for details). We meet in Hong Kong on October 2nd, and travel China for three weeks. More info.
- Torrie: There's a Noisebridge electrical inspection tomorrow, and I'm taking time off work to be here for that. Happening at noon. We have an open electrical permit, so we'll start there, then I'll found out what's next. The Giant Internet Laser was supposed to be mounted tonight, but we were too burnt out so we're going to do that tomorrow.
- Mitch: That giant laser will give us Gigabit ethernet, donated from Monkeybrains.
- Carl: Hackers on a train trip in April! Some of us are going to Washington, others are going to Portland, all going on the same train. Wednesday, April 22nd.
- Torrie: A few of us are going to Linux Fest Northwest, spending a few days bumming around Seattle.
- Scotty: Spent the last month in southeast Asia, participating in Hacker Paradise, a band of digital nomads: developers, hackers, artists, writers, marketers. They're currently in Vietnam for a few more days, then heading to Bali for a month, then Shanghai for the summer. If you're interested in connecting with them, talk to me!
- Agnes: Global Sisterhood Day is about women being excellent to other women. Celebrating for the first time this year! Doing sisterhood circles, women talking about things that matter. Should be happening at 8pm, on Saturday the 21st.
- J: Jarrod and I and a few other people are working on a table and display for Maker Faire. It's a table that will have a big Noisebridge sign in the middle that lights up, with all kinds of electronics and USB devices on it. This would be a good way to learn how to use our tools if you want to help.
Being a member of Noisebridge is not like being a member of a gym or your local chess club. Anyone can come to Noisebridge to hack and learn: you don't need to be a member for that. At Noisebridge, membership is something different: it means taking responsibility and committing to help to maintain, improve, and govern Noisebridge. As a member of Noisebridge, you don't just come here to hack and learn, you actively work to improve what you see around you, help to deal with problems, and make this community and space better than it is today.
- Henner, two sponsors, third week.
- J, two sponsors, third week.
- Funds in bank: $23,000
- Noisetor (See the bulletpoints at the bottom of http://noisetor.net/finances/#summary): $9,000
- Any other details by those participating in handling our financials: Two months of runway, you can (and should!) donate at donate.noisebridge.net
Consensus and Discussion
Proposed by Kevin: "Board nominations are due March 17th, 2015. Elections will be done by April 14th, 2015. Approval voting method, and Kevin will be the electioneer." Consensed, as highlighted on top!
Daniella: I would like to see the space open more. It's sad when I come at 8pm and come in and there's nobody inside. We need to do something about having more people here to open the door.
Henner: Hopefully the problem solves itself over time by having more people and members who participate. But until then, short of having schedules of when members should be here to keep the space open, it's not very easy to do.
Daniella: If I had more access (I can get in from 10am to 10pm), I'll be there to open the door for people.
Henner: You can get more access, but you need to be here to watch the space.
Edmund: I agree. I've been coming for a couple weeks, and came and nobody answered the door. I was completely new to San Francisco, and it took a few weeks for me to come back and have someone here. You can't really tell from the outside if someone is here or not. It would be good to have some kind of status.
Henner: I think Patrick is working on a status to indicate if the space is open. If we have more and more people here with key access, it's more possible to have the space active during the day. There was a time about a year ago when Noisebridge had hard times. Things were falling apart, there were people who removed things from Noisebridge, and long-term hackers didn't come here anymore. We're in a much better state now. We're still in this dip where there are less people than used to be here. The door used to be open 24/7, which partly resulted in the deterioration of Noisebridge.
Daniella: If something's free, you have all kinds of people coming in.
Henner: We need to be more cautious at this point, but need to be welcoming.
Scotty: The core of the conversation is rebuilding the community post-reboot, and two aspects: Building a core solid group of people, but growing the community and being as accepting as we can. If you want to be a member of the community, I think you should communicate through some of the community channels, like the weekly meetings or Slack.
John: How do people get access?
Henner: We have two access levels: Member and regular user. Regular user is 10am to 11pm. And we have another thing called full-time user, for people who are somewhat trusted to open the space, or have different time needs, like 7am to 12pm. You should talk to someone who is a member and wants to see you here, and it's very simple for that member to give you 30-day access.
Edmund: If I'm coming from another state and come to space, there might not be members here. So who do we talk to?
Henner: If you ask around or go on Noisebridge Discuss to ask questions.
Mitch: Noisebridge almost went out of existence last year because people were here who didn't belong here, stealing, making people uncomfortable. People who do belong here were staying away. Many people, including myself, wondered if Noisebridge could continue to exist at all. What we wound up doing is closing the space and rebuilding the infrastructure. Got rid of literally five tons of excess crap. Made people who don't belong stay away, and we've done a really good job of keeping them away. We've been growing our community back. I think we need to do it organically. The core hours are kind of arbitrary, but whatever it is that's in our door system at the moment, we can change that if we need to. But for now I think that's where we need to be, because if we start letting in people too quickly, that's where it started to get hairy and bad before, and I'd hate to see that happen after all the work we put into turning Noisebridge from a terrible place into a wonderful place.
I.e., an emphasis for those already in the Space to err on the side of greater caution when deciding to admit visitors who clearly "don't belong” inside.
Daniella: When I first started working here, my invention was secret and I couldn't tell anybody, and everybody thought I was a punk-ass kid. For some people, they won't show you what they're working on because they're humble or because they have to keep their shit secret. You have to monitor people's behavior and see that they're working on stuff and not sleeping. If they're doing something that's obviously productive and can be excellent, they should be here. I'm not saying we should open 24/7 just like that, or ask people we don't know. We should ask people we do know to participate. Noisebridge has a culture, and people who have been here for years have that, and it's hard to replace.
Ron: Right now, at the meeting, if you're having issues accessing the space, you should generally read the wiki for events. We have mailing lists where you can ask if people who are nearby can let you in. Work with someone and make plans to figure it out. We should work on how to expand our circle of trust reliably.
J: Something Mitch mentioned is growing the space organically. Even though I didn't say on the first day I wanted to be a member, I just started working and helping out. And people just came out and asked me if I had a key, and then if I wanted to be a member. It's like a relationship, and relationships take time. We want to make it safe and cool for everybody.
Henner: We need to make sure to grow our community. There's not enough bodies, and that's a core problem. One thing in particular for newcomers is that people know about Noisebridge.
J: If you want to be on Slack, put your name and email on this pad of paper.
Edmund: Is Slack on the wiki? I just heard about it by word of mouth.
Scotty: I think that's sort of by design, to avoid the incredible flame wars on mailing lists and IRC. There's a little bit of a higher bar, since you have to physically come to the space and talk to people. That's had a nice effect of Slack having incredibly high signal to noise.
Josh: It is mentioned on the wiki, though.
Torrie: It is super useful though if somebody is sketchy and there's a good reason for them not be here, there's a channel called #no-fly-list where that can be communicated.
Scotty: One pattern I've noticed is someone will do something sketchy in front of different people, but if they don't communicate with each other, we don't get the full picture.
Daniella: That's part of why it's important to give people a tour when they come to space, because we can scope them out.
Mitch: We're obligated to greet and give a tour.
Ron: And you should be responsible for them in the space.
Mitch: There's been a lot of communication on the #no-fly-list about people who seem sketchy.
Henner: One thing we've observed in the past, is people would let people in without taking responsibility for them or giving a tour or introduction. So we wound up with a situation where you could have a lot of people in the space who don't know each other.
Scotty: There's a wiki page on how to give a tour, if you're interested in doing that. If this all sounds like a lot of drama and you just want to come here and hack, that's totally fine. But you should either fully participate or don't let people in.
Daniella: I like to open the door for everyone, in case an Edward Snowden type needs to come in and do something awesome anonymously.
Mitch: I always let people in, and want to welcome as many people to Noisebridge as possible.
I.e., an emphasis on those already in the space to ensure that anyone they let in know what Noisebridge is (and is not) about -- and also to help new people to know that Noisebridge is a friendly place, where people welcome all who come in, and who look out for one another.
Casey: I want to say something slightly depressing. Everything said at this meeting was said for years. Just talking about it doesn't work. Having slight access restrictions is annoying, but it's encouraging people to participate more fully.