[Noisebridge-discuss] My name is Al Sweigart, and I approve this message.

rachel lyra hospodar rachelyra at gmail.com
Tue Jan 18 15:29:52 UTC 2011

(Shameless email thread hijacking)
I haven't been around nearly as long as Al, and don't have as many specific
points of change for which I am interested in agitating, but I have some
general similarities in my take on the elections. I have enjoyed finding and
becoming more involved in this community. I am a
do-first-ask-questions-later kind of gal, and my contributions to the
community have been a healthy mix of helping others with their projects,
working on my own cockamamie schemes, and running off at the mouth
(sometimes following through) on how I think things could be improved.

I am still not sure about how I feel about sitting on the board. Vote for
me, or don't. I, like Al, intend to Do Some Things whether I am on the board
or not. Mine may not involve rules so much as randomly painting things,
breaking them, or fixing them, as I think circumstances warrant. I think
that everyone up for the board has proven themselves to be do-ocratic
leaders and I think we can foster leadership without creating Rulers.

Also, I am voting for miloh and think everyone else should too. Not because
of his charming face and winning personality but because I think he has
given his heart to Noisebridge. He shows this regularly both with material
support and do-ocratically, by showing up, teaching people, doing things,
and helping others.  Anyone who doesn't think so clearly must hate America.

On Jan 17, 2011 11:07 PM, "Albert Sweigart" <asweigart at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi, I'm Al. I'm running for a position on the board of directors at
> Noisebridge. This is my "I am America and so can you" email where I
> make outlandish promises and tell you that my campaign has the
> momentum of a runaway train, why am I so popular.
> Actually, I'm here to tell you a bunch of things that will make you
> not vote for me.
> I've been a member since a few months after we got the original 53C
> space and have made a ton of contributions to NB over the years. It's
> a fun place for me to hang out, meet people, and work on projects. But
> I also see a lot of problems that keeps Noisebridge from attracting
> members and being finacially sustainable. And I think it should be on
> the board of directors to take a leadership role to actively try to
> solve these problems.
> That's the first reason to not vote for me: I don't think the board of
> directors should be completely void of any responsibilities or
> authority. While Noisebridge is a do-acracy, I think board director
> should be an actual job and not just a title we made up to make
> getting 501c3 status smoother.
> Noisebridge's main problem is that there is the standard Tragedy of
> the Commons: everyone has incentives to use Noisebridge's resources
> but little incentive to maintain them. Because our social structure
> gives everybody responsibility, often nobody has responsibility. And
> it is incredibly easy for a small minority to exceedingly make use of
> resources without contributing back or be forced to change their
> behavior.
> The second reason not to vote for me is that I think we could use
> _some_ rules that _are_ enforced. Emphasis, of course, on "some".
> Noisebridge's policy of not solving problems before they happen is
> great and keeps our overhead low. But at the same time Noisebridge
> seems to be incapable of solving even minor problems until they blow
> up into a crisis (and bring about the dreaded "drama"). Nobody expects
> to have a fire, but it isn't bureacratic micromanagement to get fire
> insurance anyway.
> Some problems we can ignore. Other problems we can ignore, but
> shouldn't. I want to see what rules the majority of members would like
> to see for Noisebridge. These are rules that would be simple and small
> in scope, but are never even attempted to be put up for consensus
> because everyone knows it would be blocked by some individual for one
> reason or another. I think Noisebridge's "open" and "inclusive"
> consensus process often excludes people from taking an active role in
> Noisebridge in just this way, and stifles even a healthy level of
> dissent. That's the third reason you shouldn't vote for me: even if we
> don't get rid of consensus altogether for a majority voting system, I
> think the way we conduct our consensus process needs to change. Right
> now nobody gives the consensus process any credibility (just listen to
> the sarcasm used when describing it at our weekly meetings) and we
> subvert it anyway with "do-acracy". This is not how an organization as
> large as ours should settle things.
> The board elections should not be a popularity contest. This is why
> I'm taking the (for us, unorthodox) step of sending out a "campaign"
> email: I want people to know who they're voting for and what I want to
> bring to the table.
> And I think there are several things we need to do that would
> currently be seen as unorthodox, but I am willing and capable of
> directly confronting issues at Noisebridge. Unless you do absolutely
> nothing as a board director, you will take criticism for any decision
> or direction you want to steer the organization in. Whether the
> "person living at Noisebridge" situation or the stacks of dirty
> dishes, I don't mind taking on an issue, patiently listening to people
> and explaining my position, and trying to be fair to all parties
> involved. And as Noisebridge grows, there are going to be a lot more
> parties and "be excellent" simply isn't going to be specific enough.
> If I'm not what you want and this isn't the board you want, then don't
> vote for me. If you think that Noisebridge is fine just the way it is,
> then don't vote for me. If you think I'm personable or you're a
> friend, don't vote for me just because of that. (Friends don't put
> friends on the board of Noisebridge. I'm irked enough at Shannon for
> nominating me in the first place.) Otherwise, this is my agenda and my
> reasons for not ducking out of the election altogether. I'm not sure
> on everything about what role the board of directors should take, but
> I think it should be an active one. And I put my money where my mouth
> is. Tuesday is the second $165 day that I've sponsored. I'm not only
> involved, I'm committed.
> We have a nestegg to pay rent now, but a lot of that is from large-sum
> donations and also backpay from members who lapsed in their donations
> for a while. Unless we want to live from crisis to crisis, Noisebridge
> needs people to take on its difficulties and the board of directors
> should be at the front of the line.
> Feel free to email this thread with any questions. It's easy to get
> misconceptions from an email like this, and I want to clear any of
> them up. And pardon the vagueness and generalities in this email, I
> didn't want it to be 500 pages.
> -Al
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> Noisebridge-discuss at lists.noisebridge.net
> https://www.noisebridge.net/mailman/listinfo/noisebridge-discuss
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