[Noisebridge-discuss] Why Consensus Kills Community

Gregory Dillon gregorydillon at gmail.com
Mon Dec 16 17:06:55 UTC 2013

I also first soaked in the environment .  With those  observations I
initially decided that Noisebridge was not the space for me,    Still,  I
keep coming back to see.  I'm glad I did because as of a  couple months
ago, things seemed different.

Its true that the associate membership process at times felt like it was
something of a pain to go through, but again, I''m glad I did it.  I
believe I asked @ 15 people to sponsor me over several trips to NB.   Yes,
at moments that took me out of my comfort zone,   but it is really not such
a bad thing to talk to people.

On Mon, Dec 16, 2013 at 8:27 AM, John Shutt <john.d.shutt at gmail.com> wrote:

> It's not too much overhead for me, which is why I'm posting to the list
> right now, sitting in on meetings, and going through the membership
> process. I would suggest that it's too much overhead for a lot of other
> people, especially people who are new to the space or just passing through.
> In the past, if none of the random collection of members who happen to be
> present at that moment wanted to deal with them, that meant they didn't get
> a tour. Now, the policy is to kick them out by default. It might not have
> anything to do with the guest: Maybe the members only want to sponsor
> people they know well, maybe they just want to work on their projects,
> maybe they know they're going to be leaving soon. Requiring that all
> members be friendly and helpful supervisors to a stream of people they
> don't know seems unreasonable, and implying that all guests require
> constant supervision creates a weird dynamic.
> I'm thinking back to the first time I visited Noisebridge, when I had just
> arrived in San Francisco and didn't know anybody and could barely code. I
> wasn't sure if I would fit in at Noisebridge, so I was pretty nervous. I
> didn't have any particular projects in mind the first few times I visited,
> I just soaked in conversations, looked at what other people were working
> on, and studied in the library.
> Since then, I've used the space to make my first open source
> contributions, help build the book scanner, learn Rails, Ember.js, and a
> lot of other things, work on the Noisebridge ticketing system, work on
> SecureDrop and Open Library at the AaronSW hackathons, give talks at 5
> Minutes of Fame, land my first programming job, give tours to visitors, and
> introduce a lot of good people to the space. I feel pretty comfortable at
> this point that Noisebridge is a good place for me to work.
> But if I had been subjected to an unfriendly interrogation on my first
> nervous visit, and then told by a board member on the mailing list that
> Noisebridge wasn't a good place for me to work, I would have taken their
> word for it.
> On Mon, Dec 16, 2013 at 12:14 AM, Tom Lowenthal <me at tomlowenthal.com>wrote:
>> John Shutt <john.d.shutt at gmail.com> wrote:
>> > Long story short: A strict interpretation of the associate membership
>> and
>> > doorcode policies would result in all of the members of the book
>> scanning
>> > group and Restore the 4th SF getting immediately locked out of the
>> space.
>> Hi John, I want to take a moment to jump into this thread and disagree
>> with you. Sorry about that.
>> A “strict interpretation” of the associate membership policy would ask
>> that you introduce yourself to someone in the space and tell them that
>> you're working on the awesome book scanner project. If any one member
>> there agrees that you're working on a great project and that they want
>> you there, you're golden.
>> Only if not a single member there is down with what you're working on
>> would you'd have to leave. Honestly: policy or no policy, if you go
>> somewhere to work and **not a single person** there is happy with you
>> being there, it'd probably be a good plan to find somewhere else to
>> work.
>> I think that's pretty different from what you described. The goal of
>> associate membership is to knit the Noisebridge community together
>> more tightly and allow for more accountability for what happens in the
>> space. If that's too much overhead for you, I guess Noisebridge isn't
>> a good place for you to work.
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Let's stay in touch.  Greg
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