[Noisebridge-discuss] Meeting notes 2011-07-12

Danny O'Brien danny at spesh.com
Wed Jul 13 06:24:47 UTC 2011

Long meeting!

My TL;DR version: Al needs more help (and has strong support) for his
work in ensuring people aren't consistently sleeping at NB (but people
generally don't think explicit rules will help in this), and also
we're all committing to be more pro-active about dealing with sketchy
people in the space. Also, technical solutions were brainstormed about
better guarding against strangers coming in, and welcome newcomers to
our culture more consistently.



The 169th Meeting of Noisebridge
Note-taker: Danny Yo Brien
Moderator: Al

Introduction and Names
What Noisebridge is about: "Noisebridge is a 501c3 nonprofit that
provides a space for creation, collaboration, and learning about
technology and creative projects. Noisebridge provides space, power
tools, and infrastructure to help the public learn new skills and
create cool things. Noisebridge continues to exist through and depends
entirely on membership fees and donations. Our code of conduct is 'Be
excellent to each other'."
Round of introductions: What's your name, what do you do, and if you
are new, how did you hear about Noisebridge? Start with the moderator
and go left.
Al -- python HE WROTE A BOOK
Rachel -- do different things
Liz -- also do different things I'm small press publisher
Danny - I'm writing down what I just wrote
Michael - ""
Aestetix - I steal stuff and sleep here
Cynthia -- retired physicial and kitchen
Alex - games
Ramone - startup
Bill - not the droids
Mike -- working on the timebank
Oliver - programmer, maker
Elijah - programmer, game developer from Atlanta, looking for stuff
Bre -- still learning!
Evan -- working on timebank
Geoff - I hack python, django
Jesse -- automation, CNT
Dan -- sysadmin
Mitch - turn off tvs, and teach people to make things
Mike -- technomad, know physical stuff, not a coder
Alex -- runs internet
Leif -- internet utopian
Espin - learning about woodwork
Francisco -- food!
Ross -- learner
Laura -- creator of the daleks
Crutcher -- you have been educated stupid and are too dumb to know it
Jason -- functional programming
Al -- I'm the loop
A brief primer on consensus process: We agree and so should you! Only
paid-up members can block consensus.
 Short Announcements
Cool new projects? Something you'd like people to know? Say now, but
keep it short!
 New or Stale Events
Francisco's cooking class at Wednesday, 5.30pm! Be there!
C Class going on Tuesdays, Jim at Tues/Thurs 7pm
Financial Report
Funds in bank: $17,690.02 ($19-20K)
PG&E bill: $710
Needs help!
Membership Binder
Read off any names from the binder for the past month. Write a check
on every open application.
Anyone up for joining this week (ie have four checks by their name +
have two sponsors) should introduce themselves then leave the area in
search of gifts (traditionally beer and a lime) for the rest of the
group. The rest of the meeting should consense on whether they may

Consensus items
(Add any new items for consensus to the Current Consensus Items page.)
Up this week:
Noisebridge should sponsor an official project to provide Tor nodes
and accept donations, such sponsorship to include a Wells Fargo
account paypal account and email address established under the
Noisebridge domain.
Discussion Items
Update from Danny on Thurs meeting with Jorgen and Warren from Free School.
Summary from me: Jorgen and Warren were sensitive to the issues of
keeping stuff here, cleaning up the kitchen, sleeping here, and were
going to pass the message on the rest of the Free Schoolers. Went
pretty well.
Mitch: we had a discussion about what is good for Noisebridge, just
hanging out not excellent.
Al: not good at Noisebridge to treat it at as a residence.
Crutcher: I think that beyond the we don't want people sleeping here,
or leaving kitchen so messy we need to bring a cat here, if we say
that space is open to anyone, we leave vulnerable to colonisation by
gregarious people -- not musical academy, not culinary academy. Do we
want someone runing a hippy school in the back room? We're not going
to have a clean cut set of things we are or are not. It's an ongoing
discussion. I'm not okay with saying that everything is acceptable.
Aestetix: Reframing what Crutcher said: that's your personal position.
Crutcher: That's my particular position. Don't want to be in a state
of paralysis.
Al: One of huge problems is that we say do whatever. Doesn't resolve
the conflicts.
Claudia: What about thieves?
Cynthia: If you're all going to have a policy to protect against theft
and craziness, you need to have people who sleep here. Power napping
is useful!
Danny: Just want to clarify what thefts we're talking about -- two
laptops, a hard drive, an airgun, cellphone, two cameras. (Anything
else? I didn't write notes of my own bits)
Rachel: What are we talking about: increase in the amount of people
over last 6 months. Culture is being diluted. Fundamentally the
problem is theft, hippies doing massage underfoot while you're doing
work. Culture needing to assert itself. What could we do, including
disappearing, address ways to propagate the hacker culture. One thing
is: Committees to address areas.
Al: just suggesting member + guests only hours from 10AM - 8AM.
Aestetix: how do you intend to enforce that?
Al: Kicking people out unless..
Aestetix: ... unless they have a membership card?
Al: ...
Dan: Seen a lot of things. People should just come here and hack. And
people who don't hack, will feel uncomfortable and leave.
Aestetix: Draw an analogy, September that never ended. September of
1992: new people came online. LINK
Liz: I'm not all that worried. We have a big influx. Not necessarily
associating with particular people. We could use more positive
education. Orientations. Committees. Personally setting boundaries.
Haven't seen someone kick someone out. Want to assert there are
situations where people can ask people to leave.
Cynthia: I have buzzed somebody up, and when I asked them they said
"Oh I thought there was an ATM". No, say come back during the day.
Also, somebody turned out the lights, and said "get out of here" and I
thought that was unexcellent because I was taking a little nap.
Alex: What kind of things are fitting with our mission? Teaching a
religion doesn't fit.
Danny: Except the Singularity.
Miloh: Point of information: I was concerned when the Shrine was
activated rather than just an item. So I decided to sell it on Ebay
for Noisebridge funds.
Alex: I know the buddhist guy, he's a nanotech guy, and teacher in the
Free School. I agree that's it off that he set up a shrine. And I
should have told him to stop it. We should tell them that's there a
place that's better down the street. I think that cooking is something
that hackers do, and cooking is science for eating. Sewing was a new
thing, for instance, and we don't disapprove of that now. Banhammer
for people who aren't members. One of the worst mistake other
hackerspace's do, and saying that this is a member's only space. This
is a limitation. Extremely dangerous idea, which would reduce the
utility of noisebridge.

Al: Come here 7AM and kicked them out. 3 people the first time, 0, 2,
7 -- all time high. Feel like a total asshole. Okay, everybody you
have to wake up. Came back 45 minutes later and they were all there.
Feel like I'm pissing off people. Because it's not an official policy.
We had a guy living in lasercutter room.
Crutcher: Shrine was pulled out, and then put back in place. It's been
returned. It is my personal plan to do-acrat the shrine to pieces with
powertools tonight. Free School people that constitute a large enough
group that our opinion has no effect on them. This idea that we can
outhack them is crazy. I don't want anyone sleeping in this space. I
don't care if you clean, don't care if you bias a building. I did not
like the fact that Frantisek sleeping here. We couldn't say it to
someone else. We should put up a sign saying no sleeping here.
Aestetix: I want to remind everyone we do have a rule: to be excellent
to each other. Follow your instinct. Rather than try to make a list of
what they shouldn't do. You can tell them not to do something. To
bounce off Rachel's point: we look for people to contribute to the
community. It's difficult to draw an objective standard.
Aestetix: I want to remind everyone we do have a rule: to be excellent
to each other. Follow your instinct. Rather than try to make a list of
what they shouldn't do. You can tell them not to do something.
Claudia: On the topic of sketchy people, unliberal ourselves.
Liz: We have to be careful not being classist, racist. What I wanted
to say: I want to be able to find the people. People said that they
were sleeping. I never knew who they were. But we need to name them.
We don't need to use full names.
Al: I got a lot of crap for naming people. It took months of
agreement, but nobody wanted to do something. I think Noisebridge:
technology, craftmanship, science and engineering. I don't think 10PM
- 10AM would be very large gate taht would be insurmountable. We can
bring people in. 10PM is not super-early.
Leif: I do-acratically declare myself moderator because Al is too
involved in this debate!
Leif becomes moderator. Miloh halped.
Crutcher: So in direct response to Aestetix. I'm not proposing a
consensus item. I'm specifically saying: we should have big signs
making clear what's ok. Your delegitimising the entire discussion. I
think "we as a community need to come to rough working agreement what
the standards are". Otherwise you have an asshole-ocracy of people who
are brash enough to achieve stuff. I think there's some real
disagreement about whether we sleep here.
Aestetix: A point on the proposal for hours: Basing things on
membership is unenforceable. Attempting to enforce that in a formal
level, and would cause due harm. Setting policies that enforce the
idea of membership, gives power to the membership rather than the
community. Better to be excellent. Not trying to delegitimise, and
emphasise personal freedom, don't need structure.
MCT: I have spent a lot of time here over the last two weeks, working
very late at night. Good things happen until 4AM. Removed most of the
couches. Kept people out. Last two weeks this has been happening.
Think it is getting better.
Rachel: I think it has been worse recently. Sleep issue not worse
thing. Theft issue has been growing. Greater perentage aren't doing it
from being tired from hacking. Asshole-burnout. Spent a lot of time
being the asshole. It sucks. Any system that requires people to be the
assholes is going to burn out, is making members going away. We need a
system that doesn't require that. Preventative rather than immedial We
need enforcement without assholedom.
Mike: We had a problem with movie-watching, and we moved the couches.
What do they sleep on? What if we got rid of them? That's a hardware
problem. Only the love seats.
?: Somebody *built* a bed in the lasercutter room. That's a problem.
Ramone: Last 4-5 months. A lot of this stuff stemming from the thefts.
A lot of the paranoia -- this person is on drugs, it might have been
them, homeless person, it might have been them. I've been here late
night. Ended up sleeping here because I'm here late. I do dishes, I've
been involved in this space. What if we had designated people stay up.
Not with a taser. Just a designated person. Just one person a night.
Crutcher: Clarification: it's not about theft. It's about culture.
Al: Signs kind of work. We had a sign that you should wear shoes.
Wasn't really paid attention to.
Danny: Those weren't very good signs!
Al: Enforceability, we can't enforce the time rules. We can do. The
big issue of sleepers/stealers. Three psychotic people 4-5AM, people
who wanted them out the space, run powertools, until finally they
worked them out. But it didn't feel it was their place.
Aestetix: What's the advantage of having a rule?
Al: You don't have to feel like it's you personally telling somebody
personally. Everybody knew F. was sleeping here, but nobody did
anythig about it.
Aestetix: What was the problem if everybody was okay with it?
Al: Everybody as against it. Asshole burnout. I think Noisebridge is
pretty shitty at the moment.
1. Actually, I think Noisebridge is pretty awesome at the moment
though it was at low ebb. Wasn't actually that bad, and it's getting
2. Cynthia, don't sleep here.
3. I'm willing to name people who sleep here.
Secretary at noisebridge.net, I'll report it to the list. I'll make it so
it's not googleable. I'm happy to take the flack.
4. I don't think we need hard and fast rules.
5. Do we want to put up the 10PM-10AM members-and-friends rule for consensus/
(Answer: yes, Al will propose it)
6. I propose a committee: Technical Solutions to Social Problems for
people's ingenious hacking ideas. Will take names.
Crutcher: I don't think the rules have to cover every cases. If
someone sleeps her.
Aestetix: Will that help people, or just get rid the fear.
Crutcher: I disagree with your position about self-actualisation. I
think they're a shitty way to run a group that is so big it has
sub-cultures. Big enough sub-cultures are large enough to ignore your
Aestetix: Do you have a specific suggestion.
Alex P: I saw this on the mailing list, someone suggested it's easier
to tell when new people if more people who participate have a key. We
should hand out all keys. When people turn up, we need to have a way
for them to start. If we have a culture of weaving a banhammer, then
we'll scare those people off.
Robert Y.C: I'd like to say I've slept at Noisebridge. In addition,
all the people are waking people up I am totally in favor of, and
here's the reason why I'm in favor. What is noisebridge for -- it's
for building community, educational purposes, tech development, etc. I
don't understand where sleeping can fall under that list. If we're not
following what NB is for: that's unexcellent. It's potentially not
being used for the right purposes. Those last two things feel under
commonsense. Noisehours? I have a night schedule. If it's members
only, we need some way of coping with people who are cool non-members.
(I have no notes here, but I wrote "CRUTCHER IS 0WNED", so I think
Robert answered a Crutcher point effectively)
Robert: I've goofed off, I've slept. Make signs!
Rachel: Noisebridge has grown a lot, and needs further structure. Al
says rules give people backup. I think that structure could also be
the same thing. Example: Ramone decided to practice massages. I asked
them to move. They didn't understand. I didn't have the right words. I
need tools. Structure, not rules.
Ramone: I didn't understand.
Rachel: Still uncool. I need better tools for this.
Mike: What do I do if there are people who are unfamiliar. I feel
imprisoned if people are staying here who I don't trust late at night.
What do we do?
Jason: Al, I have a sense that you're doing something because
Noisebridge needs it. We don't need a rule. We are having a
communication here. Al you have a mandate.
Al: It took a long while to get to this point though.
Crutcher: Are you suggesting Patrick situation was small and contained?
Kelly: So: I'm paid-up to date member, and I will block any rules you
make. Codify structure. Totally unacceptable to sleep in the space
over the hour if you are older than ten years of old. The only way to
disseminate our culture is by when you see someone, say can I give you
a tour. I use the word consensus and anarchy and to scare off control
Lief: Revisit the Patrick thing. Lot of people was complained that was
too quick, too slow. I think it was just right. Notion of saying NB is
closed to non-members, a lot of people who are not members. It would
involve kicking out awesome people. I have slept at NB.
Al haggles over exactly when would be good times not to sleep at noisebridge.
Aestetix: Almost anarchy vs structure. People doing stuff, what is the
nature of a rule. If I write something on a piece of paper, why does
that make it easier for Al to implement it?
Rachel: I wonder if you are mischaracterising Al.
Aestetix: BDSM culture. Somebody won't do something unless a master says it.
Rachel: I think you're misunderstanding Al.
Crutcher: WHAT IS LOVE?
Al: Aestetix thinks that people should be allowed to sleep. And he
tries to stop rules by delegitimising. The reason I want a rule, is so
I'm not going off as a loose cannon. I'm flying blind.
Jason: Why is it not enough and come and talk to people? The reason I
ask: this is an experiment in loose, tribal interpersonal ways to
organize things, and it loses that quality if we move in the way of
Al: Because we're doing consensus by charisma.
Jason: So you're saying that this is a mob? [SAID IN FRIENDLY, CLARIFYING WAY]
Liz: I don't like the idea of rules, I like structures and consensus.
That's not because I secretly want people to sleep here.
Cynthia: If you want the wakefulness. They turned off the lights.
Liz: Do you sleep here a lot?
Cynthia: Not a lot.
Liz: If someone object, do you think it's wrong?
Cynthia: I sometimes don't want to walk home late at night.
Dan: You could ask us to walk you down.
Schuyler: We used to have blankets. I like a guarantee that blankets
can stay, because I get cold. I'd like to keep a blanket for ((medical
reasons omitted for privacy)).
Kelly: That's totally a reasonable need. Let's talk about getting some
shelfspace for your blanket.
Consensus decision process for new rules
Ramone's idea of a sentry -- a night shift crew
People who will commit to check in early in the morning -- not just Al.
Tell free school people hold classes, yoga events, spiritual events elsewhere
Claudia -- last person out, should ask them all to leave
Robert -- list of phone numbers for people to call, signs
Gathering more data
Broadcasting the sleepwatch
Forming committees
Creating hacker livingspaces nearby, encouraging people to join
Elijah: you should have a taskforce not a committee
Crutcher's best practices and Robert's recommendations
Mitch: if each of us sees someone doing something unexcellent, do it
We need a committee to help Al!
(Massive consensus! It is mandated that we tell Al this. He is so told)
Duncan says: I was glad to help him.
Miloh wraps up.
Danny: I am passing around a piece of paper, please sign on one side
if you want to help Al with physical rounds, etc. Sign the other if
you'd like to join my Technical Solutions To Social Problems list.
Liz: This is productive. More people feel empowered to act.
Big round of applause for awesomeness!
Leif says give out more keys!

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