Signs are an often suggested solution for issues at Noisebridge. Here are some of the problems experienced with signs in the past.
- People don't notice the signs
- People notice the signs, but add snarky comments to them
- People don't obey direct orders by inanimate objects
- People are overloaded with too many signs
- People don't see the signs at the right time
- The signs are too funny to understand (or undermine their seriousness)
- People take down the signs because they have better ideas for signs, which also get taken down
- People disagree with signs
- People don't know who put the signs up, and whether they trust them
This doesn't mean that signs can't work, but you do have to think a bit about how to do them. Some suggestions:
- Always put a contact number and name on a sign if it's a personal sign, so people can discuss the issue with you. (Ie if you put a big pile of servers in the corner with "Don't touch!", the chances are that people will move the servers anyway if they need to do something and they don't know who you are.)
- Explain the reasons for the sign. Don't just say "for safety" or "because of the lease", because Noisebridgers are naturally argumentative and suspicious of arguments from authority. You don't need to make this bit in big letters.
- Be polite. Just swearing at people makes Rubin feel better, but it doesn't usually increase sign compliance.
- Don't use "we", unless this is some big goddamn consensus decision.
- Think very carefully about placement. Noisebridge is so visually noisy that most people just edit out almost everything, so you need to put a sign almost directly where people are dealing with it.