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

bfb bfb at riseup.net
Fri Dec 13 22:14:43 UTC 2013

Al, please consider an alternative interpretation of this proposal based on the following claims. 

Great changes to noisebridge standard operating protocol:
1. benefit from a trial period
2. benefit from significant (unanimous) community buy-in
3. benefit from the learnings made during the trial period

In addition, this particular policy suffers from perceived lack of legitimacy due to the small present member count (4) and poor adherence to process (member dues amendment).

Finally, the proposal in question follows precedent set by the button to keypad consensus and the anti harassment policy. 


-------- Original message --------
From: Al Sweigart <asweigart at gmail.com> 
Date:12/13/2013  13:52  (GMT-08:00) 
To: noisebridge-discuss <noisebridge-discuss at lists.noisebridge.net> 
Subject: [Noisebridge-discuss] Kevin's proposal to expire the Associate	Member role. 

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 blocked.

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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