Meeting Notes 2019 02 05
- 1 Moderators
- 2 Note Takers
- 3 Meeting Summary
- 4 Fundraising Update
- 5 Introductions
- 6 Fundraising Update
- 7 Short announcements and events
- 8 Financial Report
- 9 Be Excellent to Each Other
- 10 Consensus
- 11 Doocracy
- 12 Participation
- 13 Membership
- 14 Philanthropists
- 15 Discussion
- 16 End of Meeting
These are the notes from the The XXXth Meeting of Noisebridge. Date: FIXME THE DATE HERE Note-taker: FIXME YOUR NAME HERE; Moderators: FIXME THEIR NAME HERE.
- One or two bullet points of high-level meeting summary.
TLDR what happened at the meeting:
- Fundraising Update
- New members:
- New philanthropists:
- Consensus Items:
- Discussion Items:
Fundraising team gives update on fundraising
- Tim - Genetic engineering
- Matt - he/him -- electronics and software and stuff
- Johnny - drums
- John - music, sewing, and software, they/them
- Nicole - fundraising -- if you know ppl who want to give NB
- Daniel - AI, Time Travel
- Jay - hack on JS, FreeCodeCamp
- Henner - working on a sphereometer
- R - they/them - playing with DSP32
- Lahari - 3d printing with used coffee grounds
- Jared - he/him - prolly won't stay but i like y'all.
- Steve - he/him - AI for selfdriving cars. NLP.
- Jack. That's it.
- Joseph: blockchain, Rpi, he/him
- James - RPi, self-hosting, he/him or they/them
- Naomi - I'm interested in changing the way NB works. she/her or they/them
- Ryan - I like helping ppl w/ projects. Beatsaber
- Lemons - if you want to make art to protest in the st while being funny.
- Victoria - she/they - i am from an alternate future!
- we are having our fundraising consultants here from Seattle on Feb 18-19th. (checks calendar) Running some WORKSHOPS. YOU are encouraged to attend and learn more fundraising skills!
- do you work for a BOSS? THey're going to come teach us to ask our bosses for money.
- Fundraising Mtg: we're talking about asking corps and orgs to give money. Maybe name the toilets after Mark Zuckerberg? (Nicole and Ruth)
- GALA is still in the works
Short announcements and events
- We have an Oculus! (again!) Oculus Rift.
- On Sunday, March 17th, before GDC (Game Developer Conference) starts, giving an 8-hour presentation on VR
- Johnny: I want to teach drumming here. Can you help me promote and get the word out?
- James: Mohammad and I drafted a short appeal to encourage people LIKE YOU to teach classes, even just one, at Noisebridge. Matt just taught Inkscape Design for the 1st time! We feel it's very important to provide more classes, one off events, working groups, whatever you desire. We are happy to provide assistance and advice if you'd like to offer something!
- Victoria: as of today, since the beginning of 2019, NB has raised $4096 w/ 89 gifts.
- Tim: I've made a quiet room / lactation room. Please do not hack unless you'd like to further improve the room! Talk to me. [Sound Studio acceptable? -nm Yes! --Tim]
- Ryan: in the coming month i'm going to make videos of how to use tools in the space. If anybody wants to learn-along and ask questions, it would help! I'll announce next meeting when I'm planning to do these.
- Victoria: repeat from last week -- funky posters "The New Noisebridge" -- new forum at https://discuss.noisebridge.net -- open to the outside so it's not an info-silo like Slack.
- Johnny: I'm making a podcast of living on the streets in SF.
NICOLE IS OUR FEARLESS TREASURER. Nice scarf! <-- James
- Funds in bank: "about the same amount that we had last time." --Nicole
- Noisetor (See the bulletpoints at the bottom of http://noisetor.net/finances/#summary): we need to ask Steve (@elimisteve)... R: currently Steve has the keys to access the servers, waiting on some books Patrick might have. We've shut down most of the servers we weren't using. We should now be spending less money. We could maybe spin up more servers when we understand WTF.
- The latest financial reports from the treasurer are available at https://noisebridge.net/wiki/Finances
Be Excellent to Each Other
What does it mean to be Excellent?
What is the Anti-Harassment Policy.
- be yourself
- do the dishes (even when they're not yours)
- We should be aware of oursevles and how we interact with other people
- Leave things better than you found them. Victoria says the Boy Scouts stole this from Noisebridge.
- Make other people's lives better!
- Victoria: to me it's a two-way street: it's one thing to be excellent to each other, but we should HELP each other be Excellent to each other. E.g. if you bring your friend and they're a dickbag, for one it's your responsibility to educate that person (after cleaning that shit up). Make sure we are always trying to be the best version of yourself. Noisebridge should as an org always trying to be a better version of itself.
- Ryan: please be excellent to the space. Don't smash things... or camp here... other people use this space too.
What is Consensus? how does NOISEBRIDGE do Consensus?
Lemons: ASK AROUND! do other people think it's a good idea? if this has the potential to interfere with things other people are doing, most things here are done by lowercase-c consensus. Even smashing down walls and creating new spaces is lowercase-c consensus.
upper-case C consensus: things like letting the Treasurer take out large sums of money to get a new home for Noisebridge.
Consensus is not voting! We don't do voting.
Consensus means we talk our shit through. If someone has a PRINCIPLED OBJECTION to that item, it means that person would consider leaving the space if it went through.
Ryan: recently, a number of tables were set up in Turing. The person who set them up made them worse by damaging them. (Those screws were broken! -Rando) Someone then took them apart after I spent a lot of time fixing them. And the way they were taken apart made them even more broken. I forgot to put a note not to put things back together...
Tim: So there may have been miscommunication... Announce what you're doing on Slack to check on larger things before you do them.
James: You should talk to the person who made the changes. I can tell you who that is. Ryan: I will do that.
James: Unrelated to that -- I feel like we're shooting ourselves in the face b/c we're not talking about Doocracy.
Our space is built on Doocracy, not on little-c consensus or Consensus. But you're RESPONSIBLE for having taken that action. So you have to OWN IT when you do things. You can take action. Consenseus can help you get a better pulse on what you're doing.
- WHAT IS THIS?
Both Membership and Philanthropy has a $40 starving hacker rate and $80 normal rate. You can also talk to the Treasurer to haggle on your membership rate.
Being either of these things doesn't give you license to lord over anyone in any way. It means you use the space often enough that you can be responsible to have 24 hour access.
James: YOu CAN lord it over people, and if you do, you can lose your status! Yay!!
Steve: to be a part of NB, you get in here and figure out how things work, get on Slack, become a Philanthropist (maybe) [not required]. The last "tier", if you will, is Membership. NB has been supported by people who are passionate about the space and do a lot of work to keep the place open. Some of those people might not even be Members! A Member is someone who knows people in the community, knows how things work, how drama works in the space, how to build things, how to affect change. Ideally we'd like "one clique that everyone is a part of" [oh i don't agree with that, where is he going with this? this is totally not how Membership is done hahaha -nthmost]
Lemons: being a Member is not a Thou Shalt. No special status. What it is, in practice and concept, is Doing the Dishes. Physical, emotional, being a treasurer.
Nicole: the Oh Shit Period. We Consensed on this last year. If someone becomes a Member and people go "oh shit that shouldn't have happened" there can be a Block within the
Ryan: You are part of the immune system of Noisebridge. Be conscious of others. Assumed you should be able to be helpful to others.
John: In the last 86 situation, I asked if there was a Member around. Someone said "Members don't matter." And I didn't know what to do. I just didn't know what the proper response was, and figured a Member would know better than me.
Lemons: being a Member or not is not the barometer of who should deal with a situation. It's more like we all train each other what to do in various situations.
Tim: Can anybody do a training on what to do in hard situations? There were inappropriate responses--
Victoria: Fuck yes.
- WHAT IS THIS? Philantropy, and the application process.
We need people who actually intend to be stewards of the space. I would like to ask philanthropists to take responsiblitiy for the space. Buy toilet paper, etc. Good deeds will go noticed!
- Steve: as a Member I can veto Philanthropists. [proceeds to interview Lahari]
- Lahari: I work on Computer Engineering.
- Steve: what do you like about NB?
- Lahari: [3 things]
- Steve: responsibilities?
- Lahari: Being Excellent. Cleaning up, not just after myself but participating in cleanups. Rules about being a nice person as part of the community.
- Steve: IMHO your responsiblities are things like being able to shut down the space, what to do when there's a doorbell. If you let people in, you're responsible. You don't have to answer the door if you don't feel up to it.
- Tim: Can you give me a refresher on shutting down, etc?
- Henner: after the meeting! Yes!
- Steve: No further questions, your honor.
```Lahari is now a Philanthropist!```
DANIEL: in my words, it's taking responsiblity for closing down the space... inviting ppl into the space is part of it, but that applies even when you're not a Philanthropist. Making sure there's no soldering iron left on overnight.
Steve: yeah you need Consensus to burn down the building.
```Daniel is now a Philanthropist!```
JARED: In addition to what the other people said -- a vague but important sense of helping. I've taught almost every Python class since Trent gave it up!
James: yes, please make this person a philanthropist.
```Jared is now a Philanthropist!```
JOHNNY: <takes an application.>
(Add any items which are consensed upon or someone has raised a principle objection for to the Consensus Items History page.)
(Add any new items for consensus to the Current Consensus Items page.)
Naomi: I'm interested in changing how Noisebridge works, in response to feedback over the last few years. "I don't understand membership" or "only people in some in-group get to become members", there are some people that come to NB regularly, but don't feel like a part of it, and there hasn't been a strong cohesive group identity since the first few years. Things naturally turn into tribes as group grow larger. Some people have estimated that about 500 people come here on a regular basis. When we had 5mof and Circuit Hacking Monday, we might have 1000 people who don't know each other, and that's not a group size where everyone can know each other. Noisebridge has surpassed "one group". Haven't had a member application in a while (Ryan says 3 months).
Tim: Can someone define membership for us?
Fineline: We talked about Noisebridge community, coming into the space, Slack, Philanothropists, and the "last tier": Membership.
Naomi: The mistaken impression has been given that there are steps like Slack. There's a process, but not steps.
Fineline: Members know how things work in the space (inc. drama), works towards preserving the space, and generally knows what going on, and is trusted in the space, and it takes a while before that kind of level of familiarity.
Lemons: One of the high level things is "doing the dishes" in the physical, but also emotional space, it's like work. Becoming a member isn't about more benefits, it's about signing yourself up to the task sheet of shit that has to be done.
Naomi: But nobody has yet talked about how you become a Member: fill out the form in the membership binder, get two member sponsors, have it be read out for 4 weeks.
Nicole: The "oh shit" period is a post-membership period where membership can be retroactively denied.
R: By publically announcing it in a wide public channel.
Lemons: You pay money to do dishes! I've been called in to do things where I'd rather be doing anything else.
John: It is a hard grinding tasks. It's not about "I'm in charge now."
Lemons: You'll be eyerolled if you try to weaponize your membership.
Ryan: You're part of the immune system of the space.
John: I was told that "membership don't matter", in the context of a situation.
Naomi: Hash-tag membership-is-problematic, not clear there is a cohesive picture.
Lemons: This is a great question. Being a member is not necessarily a barometer for who should deal with the situation. It's about training/education about what to do in those situations...
Tim: Can we do some kind of training on how to be bouncers?
What if, instead of "Noisebridge Membership", how about I come to the sewing area, and it turns out they have a guild, and they have a process, and they have agreed as a guild to uphold the values of Noisebridge, so you become a member of the sewing guild, then you're a member of the greater Noisebridge.
Fileline: I feel like it might add a lot of bureaocratic complexity. It could all work out just fine, but I'm focusing on the negative. Is this a solution for membership complexity? What if we could eliminate the ambiguity of what membership meant, would that solve the problem?
Naomi: The ideals of NB Membership and the pragmatics are at odds with each other. It's possible that we could just fix this by realigning the expectation. We could also fix this by not having members?
Fineline: I think the problem as you see it, could be solved, if we had a group that met every week that talked about what these ideas meant. What if some of us members just wrote some shit down and put it up about what membership is, and took some time to make it non-ambiguous? Would it solve the problem?
Ryan: Sounds like we're trying to discuss the Guilds and Membership stuff together -- are we talking about using Guilds as Membership --
Ryan: -- or are they about using Guilds to manage resources?
Naomi: Also yes!
Ryan: If we do this, do we need to get rid of the existing membership structure? Just shift some ideas of membership in this new style. Housekeeping should be distributed over, but e.g. sewing machine maintenence should be for that guild.
Victoria: I'm not making any direct response -- i want to explain my experience being a KDE developer and how similar it might be to this Guilds idea. Right now i work in Law! I was an engineer for KDE; If you've used Amarok I'm sorry/grateful you've experienced my work. It's a massive commnunity, bigger than 20 Noisebridges. Huge, all over the planet -- literally all over the planet. Brazil, China, islands. I informally became a member of the KDE multimedia team, i was just showing up and doing the work. If you're part of a subgroup, you're part of KDE. Eventually I was the lead of KDE multimedia. That also meant I was part of a big part of KDE generally. It was my responsiblity to work on collaboration across other teams. What tied these communities together (sysadmins, conference organizers, lots of disparate groups) is we all used this shared infrastructure (just like NB!). Maintained by many of us... not all of us. Nuts and bolts: the sysadmins maintained the servers, I didn't, I just ran stuff on the servers. It's had growing pains as any anarchist collective does. ANARCHO-SYDNICALIST PARADISE:society composed of smaller societies (Guilds, if you will!) and at the fringes is where you interact with other groups. The risk of not collaborating is no longer being part of KDE. So at Noisebridge we might do the same by having Electronics Guilds, Sewing Guild, etc. We all use the front door. We all use the wifi. To manage these common things were the sysadmin group that maintained infrastructure. I don't think NB's problems are all unique (maybe the combo is unique) but there's a lot of other anarchist communities we could model ourselves after.
Rando: (I only run KDE in a chroot.) Currently Members have a legal distinction, so we could make a distinction between legal Members and Consensing Members. If NB had 99 Members you would have to appease all of them to be the 100th member. Would that person have to be essentially BLAND to make it through? You can join multiple Guilds! It's not a competition or territory, it's about your interests.
Tim: A lot of interest groups here, but not all of them are represented well at these meetings. Getting more representation from less-visible groups is a positive thing about Guilds.
Naomi: <jazz hands>
Lemons: Steve, reflecting on your comments earlier about clarifying memberhsip. Things made a lot more sense before we had this idea of philanthropists. It was well intentioned, but the problem is I could never understand the difference between a philanthropist and a member. When you asked what the prospective philanthropists what they wanted to contribute, it sounded a lot like memberships.
Steve: <tries to interrupt> Lemons: <aint having it>
Lemons: The grey zone between Phil and Membership confuses ME and I've been here a while! Anarchosyndicalism is very well founded in other communities, like Occupy. Individual groups that had topics of interest. They bring the things that affect everybody to the broader table. I like the idea of Guilds, also think Rando's point was really good -- we have a 501c3 situation that required Membership. Philanthropy never made sense to me.
Victoria: Interesting about lowercase c consensus... i would argue NB already has Guilds. It's more like delineating these boundaries. In practice, I don't give a shit how the sewing guild runs the sewing area. If they make changes, I don't have a say, I don't use this stuff. If something big comes up, I trust they'd bring it to the rest of the community. Like we already have these groups, now we'll just write it down.
Ryan: This is starting to remind me of some of the meeting conversations we've had over the last 3 years: member, or ranger, all of that stuff. It seems like it's always something we talk about every 6 months or something. Now seems like a very critical time to figure this stuff out. Come up with good names for the separation scheme. Earlier, during the explanation about consensus, I think more than one person was confused about little vs. big C consensus. Or also user/philanthropist/member of the space which can add a lot of confusion, and some of our explanations are complex because the naming schemes requires us to over-define things.
Naomi: Another benefit of trying to do AnarSynd-Utopia here in the space, Tim brought up that some of the groups don't have a lot of representation at the table. We can't have a 100 person conversation. We have a lot of resources that go unmaintained, like I can't get access to <blah> because I don't have the password and don't know who has it, or know someone who knows who has access. One of the visions was that guilds could keep knowledge in a person container. If someone asks "how to get into this rack?" there's knowledge about who to ask. This kind of already exists, but could be more apparent. What you get as a consequence of guilds is more recognition of who is doing what.
Fineline: All of these people have the opportunity to come to the meeting and participate. I feel like this is already happening naturally. You're trying to codify it to solve a problem, frustration with Membership, but I think that could work better by just communicating Membership better. You're talking about what positivity Guilds can add, but I'm concerned that adding bureaucratic layers leave more opportunity for people to come in and GAME the system. We've seen lots of that here. People who have nothing better to do. So I'd love to hear more anecdotes, stories, narratives about why this would be better.
Alex: We do have informally guilds of various kinds, and they have degrees of "meeting the definition" of what we image a fully fleshed out guild might be. Some groups have/haven't had situations where there's been a need for provisions and chains of knowledge. I see initial value of the guild as a brainstorming/template as ways that guilds can be excellent: if you're doing a guild, try one of these things that might make the most sense for yours. PyClass was able to keep consistent classes. CHM needs rebooting; used to have the most consistent and impressive meetups. I looked up to other groups, "my group should do that too." I'd say the min deinition of a Guild is a Set of Design Practices -- to be Excellent, it's an addressable GROUP so you can help people find resources, find people, etc. I like the idea of having a formal definiton of what a guild is. I want the gamedev group to be an exemplar of all of this. Multiple teachers, multiple updators to the Meetup group. If another guild likes these things, they can do it too, and we can add it to the guild templates. THe part that I'm unsure about is the idea of changing Noisebridge Membership. I always thought that philanthropy functionally great, example of hacker space in Germany for people visiting for CCC: easy to get added for short period of time, but if they're a problem, easy to expell. If we intermix Guilds and Membership, I want to hear a good case for it. What will and won't work? What are the problems and good things about it? The first thing I wanted to ask is, not that someone *wants* to game the system, but e.g. adding students to Slack is too high friction. Only if students frequently attend do they get on Slack.
Victoria: I agree with a lot of what Alex said. While ppl were talking, been thinking about a way to describe this. In my org'ing at Noisebridge, I've come to see that there's kind of a core infra guild. I've called it "the working set", like the working set of hard drives, you lose one you swap it out and swap in a fresh one. The sysadmin team at KDE kept things running. It might be worth writing down a list of priorities for infrastructure. Certain things would really tank Noisebridge. If someone blew up the roof internet laser -- we have a vested interested in keeping that running as a whole community. The sewing machines are really important to the sewing people, the soldering irons are important to the electronics people, but losing tehse things wouldn't ruin Noisebridge. Important to think about in terms of how guilds might delinate the responsibility. Disputes within the Gamebridge, maybe that's self contained. If it spills out, then it makes me think about what Naomi said about a community therapist. Some group -- some body of people who work on these kinds of inter-guild conflicts. To tie it all together: what's the critical infrastructure and what's membership vs. philanthropods? There's low collective risk for someone for someone to be a philanthropod, but there's very high risk for someone having access to our bank account. We don't want any "Rando" to have access to our bank account. If we think about the barrier to entry between membership and the p-word, you have to go through the community and build up trust for member, but not so much for philanthopy. If we have a meta-guild, that could be like Noisebridge Membership, that the other guilds rely on to keep things running at the space. That's not how we traditionally defined membership. The members of the guillitines are the ones to guild guilds? Philanthropists are guild members? Maybe we don't change how philanthropy works, but re-name membership as "guild of guilds". Maybe if you start a guild, you need a member, but that might re-introduce some problems.
Ryan: Gamebridge is a good example of both faults, e.g. passcode to the VR machine. We haven't put it online, but we have a notion of different levels; the basic code (e.g. to use the computer) could be pretty public, but the cabinet with the computer has a lock with a more secret code -- separation of issues. There have been times where we've had problems: we had a guest account once and someone changed the password, and we didn't know what it was. We already do guild-like things a lot; if this is codified, it could be more bureaucratic, but it could also be more efficient -- you might know who you need to get in touch with.
Rando: If this takes off, can we call this the "guilded age"? <groan and laughs> I currently would not have the access to do the things I do without Philanthropy. It really helps with the middle layers, and it's useful. I think we are definitely talking about the definition of membership. I have pretty significant trust and social capital, so I don't personally need membership, just need to talk to members. Right now, we only have one rule, and I don't know if we need any more.
Fineline: I think we should be clear about what the definitions are.
Tim: How do you become a formal guild? (Naomi: don't know -- half baked idea) How do you deal with abuse/trolls? What are the benefits of being a guild? How does leadership work for guilds?
Naomi: The reason why I like tying guild memberhsip with noisebridge membership is the idea of having stake in having a guild and maintaining a group of people. Yes, we have guild-like objects (laser, gamebridge), but I am curious what could happen when it takes some amount of work and investment to become a formal member of a guild. Not just attending a class, but jumping through hoops defined by the guild. The guild itself would be Consensed upon by the Noisebridge organization and agreed upon so they can serve as a proxy for membership. I want to explore what if Noisebridge is too big for its britches at this point.
Alex: A pattern that worked in the past is philanthropy, it solved a problem of membership by creating a new category. If we imagine certain aspects of guilds and how we might create benefits for becoming members of a guild. We may try: e.g. if you're a guild member + noisebridge member, would it make it easier to expand the membership group? Use the term "exemplary" guild to do things that have been "exemplarary" in the space, rather than a checklist. One challenge we've faced is card access: we have a way to go before it's as accessible as possible. The wiki pages that document e.g. 3D printers needed improvements so I did that about 6 months ago. The goal for a guild in my mind in this initial phase is: we come up with the current ways we are doing things, think/discuss about how we might make them better and what we've learned. The term I would use for the people responsible for infrastructural things: I would not tie to membership/philanthropists but have it be "maintainer" that's independent of those other concepts. Knowing how a things works and sheparding it. As long as we identify an exemplarary guild needs to have at least one maintainer for critical things. Minimize bus factor for maintainer roles. For teaching, we have about 4 people who could cover. We should have the documentation in place to get a new person up to speed, so even if all 4 of us get on a bus, there's still persistence. Exemplrary: existence of 2+ maintainers and existence of documentation.
Victoria: I like what Alex is saying -- it's really good, especially about changing how we use the rhetoric. The way we talk about things is really important and thinking about power dynamics. History of other anarchist collectives: we don't have guild leaders/masters but maybe we do have delegates. The members of the guild choose someone to represent their intersts, given a mandate but no authority; the delegates themselves could be the core infrastructure guild.