[Noisebridge-discuss] Kevin's proposal to expire the Associate Member role.

Al Sweigart asweigart at gmail.com
Fri Dec 13 21:52:25 UTC 2013

So Kevin proposed a consensus item at the last meeting that would expire
the Associate Member role on January 29 unless it passed a second round of
consensus before then. This is basically the same as the previous consensus
item that was blocked on 12/3 to invalidate the original Associate Member
consensus item, except the invalidation takes place in the future with the
opportunity to prevent the invalidation of the consensus item by re-passing
it through consensus. (Insert Inception joke here.)

I'd like to talk about two things:

First, I think that Noisebridge having two tiers of membership is kind of
crap, especially for all the non-hierarchical rhetoric that is preached.
Associate members are second-class citizens that can't block, meaning they
have no power whatsoever in actual decision making. (And influence is no
substitute for power.)

But I also understand why it was created, rather than just easily let
people become Noisebridge members. Being a member gives someone the Nuclear
Option of a unilateral veto, which the membership wants to be very careful
with. But this ends up excluding a lot of people (again, which goes against
the "radical inclusiveness" rhetoric we preach). Sam and Robin's
memberships getting blocked at the last meeting are examples of this.

Second, Kevin's proposal is a hack. With Noisebridge's current political
structure, it's far easier to block something then pass it. So if you want
to abolish Associate Members, it's easier to add an expiration date which
would need consensus to avoid, rather than try to get consensus to directly
abolish it. Kevin's proposal effectively tries to do the same thing as the
last proposal, but in an indirect way so that it will be less likely to be

Consensus is problematic. It encourages Noisebridge to be closed off to new
people, it creates an "old guard" of members who hold the actual power, and
it encourages people to circumvent it anyway. It's no wonder why there's so
much drama at Noisebridge.

Any thoughts on consensus, associate members, and/or Kevin's proposal?

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