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

Albert Sweigart asweigart at gmail.com
Tue Jan 18 18:17:18 UTC 2011

I don't entirely agree. I think we've been so concerned with the
Tyranny of the Majority and management overhead, it's kept us from
even making minor rules. Rules are not necessarily a Bad Thing. We can
come together as a group and decide on what expected behaviors we all
agree we should follow. Right now when we see "unexcellent" behavior
we have no social contract to appeal to, and unless you have a
strong-willed personality to actually confront an issue yourself you
are left having to just grin and bear it. That's not fair to everyone
else. This laissez-faire approach makes every political issue into a
personal one and excludes people from wanting to get involved.

I think coming up with some measured steps and rules can make an
overall improvement to Noisebridge without losing its do-acracy
character, and (my main objective) be able to attract new members to
make NB financially stable.

Also, not to turn this into the Nominee Mutual Admiration Society :),
but I agree that Miloh is a person I would be very comfortable with on
the board. He contributes to Noisebridge, is level-headed, and doesn't
bring his ego into the discussion.


On Tue, Jan 18, 2011 at 7:29 AM, rachel lyra hospodar
<rachelyra at gmail.com> wrote:
> (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.
> mediumreality.com
> 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
>> _______________________________________________
>> Noisebridge-discuss mailing list
>> Noisebridge-discuss at lists.noisebridge.net
>> https://www.noisebridge.net/mailman/listinfo/noisebridge-discuss

More information about the Noisebridge-discuss mailing list