[Noisebridge-discuss] I want NoiseBridge to change.

Al Jigong Billings albill at openbuddha.com
Wed Feb 22 00:25:47 UTC 2012

AMT is not a good example of comparison. While we aren't far off in the
number of dues paying members (around 32 right now), we've got a much
smaller overall community and we have never committed to running the
kind of open access space that Noisebridge was founded upon.

All of our *events* and *meetings* are open to the public at AMT but,
otherwise, you have to be let in by a member and are expected to be
supervised if you aren't a member. Basically, while people are
occasionally let in off the street, it is pretty rare and usually
they'll be given a tour if they are and then expected to go. If people
want to hang out and hack, we suggest that they come to our Thursday
night weekly meeting or one of the other weekly or bi-weekly events that
we list on the calendar. Otherwise, strangers may show up and find no
one answering the doorbell. AMT committed itself to offering educational
events and meeting space to the public but always with the requirement
that a dues paying member be the point person in charge.

If people do want to join AMT, they start paying dues (either standard
or starving hacker rates normally) and participate. After roughly three
months, they get voted on by the existing members as to whether they can
become full AMT members. We've never turned anyone down but people
normally self-select based on the space and their interactions with folks.

As was mentioned, we don't have a bathroom in the space (there is one
just outside for our end of the building) nor a kitchen. We actually do
have couches but have had a "no sleeping in the space" rule since we
opened 1 1/2 years ago.

Barring an in person interpersonal conflict or two, we've also been
amazingly drama free since we opened. I generally put it down to our
smaller size and the lack of complete strangers. Many people that come
are friends of friends with the exception to people coming to events or
who hear about our weekly meeting on Meetup.com.

Basically, we have the kinds of rules that many people at NB would just
hate and don't ever want to see happen at Noisebridge. We are a
fundamentally different style of organization with voting by members, no
open access to the public 24/7, and a number of set rules. It works for
us and I think it is the more common paradigm in American hackerspaces
based on what I've seen.

Noisebridge has the strengths of community and place that come with
being completely open but, based on my reading of digests here, there
are quite a few people struggling with the occasional downsides as well.
I do not think that NB is likely to change the kind of space it is by
closing for the night, locking the public out, etc. It is kind of the
foundation of the group.

Al @ AMT

From: jim <jim at systemateka.com>
Date: Tue, 21 Feb 2012 10:39:16 -0800
Subject: Re: [Noisebridge-discuss] I want NoiseBridge to change.
Message: 61

    There needs a definition of "hacking". The space has 
sewing machines, lots of soldering irons and oscilloscopes, 
various tools in the dirty workshop, and so on. Yet much 
of the email discusses hacking with respect to the software 
    A week or so ago some J R hacker stopped by the space 
with an aquatic sailing device that adjusts its shape to 
optimize speed and (I think) expected to be able to do some 
work on it. Some months ago a group of French stopped by 
the space as part of their world tour to study such spaces. 
Tastebridge came out of Czeck Frantisek's persistent 

    Making a "structural change" needs clarification, 
probably with respect to the definition of hacking. 
    And probably the use of the equipment in the space ought 
to be considered in defining hacking. 

    Note that the AMTD discuss list so far has been devoid 
of the drama component that occasionally explodes on the NB 
discuss list. What about their structure might have a 
filtering affect? 
    For one thing, it seems that no one is sleeping there: 
as I recall, their space has no kitchen and no couches and 
does have locked doors (not easily accessible by the curious). 
Is that what we want? 

    Trying to fix things comes with volatility. Maybe we 
don't understand our circumstance well enough. Seems to me 
good to focus on doing things that __are__ hacking as we 
each individually understand it and set a tone by example. 
Be wary of changes that require maintenance. 
    Be patient. Care hard. NB seems a natural community 
space, with the complexities that come with. 

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