[Noisebridge-discuss] Why Consensus Kills Community

Johny Radio johnyradio at gmail.com
Tue Dec 17 23:05:39 UTC 2013

On Sat Dec 14 04:32:00 UTC 2013 Madelynn Martiniere mmartiniere at 
gmail.com wrote:
> The idea of consensus was brought up in discussion at the advent of every hackerspace I've been involved with, and was decided against, for good reason

Hi y'all

I'm breaking silence cuz this topic is thoughtful and hopeful, on a 
topic that's very important to me. Merci beaucoupe, Madelynn. Nous avons 
la chance d'avoir ton sagesse. I hope that's French.

CONSENSUS DOES NOT CARE ABOUT RESULTS: I've long been a critic of 
Consensus, since witnessing first-hand the Consensus process destroy 
another promising organization. Consensus has driven Noisebridge to the 
near brink of irrelevancy and dysfunction. Consensus is wrong on so many 
levels. It creates stagnation. It enables the individual to hold back 
the group, by blocking, which is what we see at Noisebridge. It produces 
drama and decisions leading in circles. Consensus is based on wishful 
ideology, not results.

Thanks Madelynn for raising awareness.

MISSION COMES FIRST: Decision-making processes should be selected (and 
continually refined) to support our primary Mission, and not the other 
way around. I fully applaud every effort to refocus Noisebridge on it's 
fundamental MISSION. Noisebridge's fundamental mission is NOT "to 
promote Consensus."


"Noisebridge is a space for sharing, creation, collaboration, research, 
development, mentoring, and of course, learning. Noisebridge is also 
more than a physical space, it's a community with roots extending around 
the world." - https://noisebridge.net/wiki/Noisebridge_Vision

That is a beautiful statement, written years ago by earlier members. It 
cannot be much improved on, in my opinion.

VISION STATEMENT: Technically, from the perspective of Organizational 
Planning, that's NOT a Vision Statement: it's a MISSION Statement. It's 
too abstract to be a Vision statement. A Vision Statement, which is also 
crucial to success, should be a concrete description of day-to-day 
activities (cred, i was trained in Organization Planning at U of Mass).

FORETHOUGHT: Wishful thinking cannot replace forethought and planning. 
Where ever Noisebridge goes from here, if it proceeds with the same LACK 
of forethought and planning that brought us to this point, the same 
rigid unwillingness to self-correct itself, the same fear of change, 
then Noisebridge will keep falling on it's face.

ORGANIZATIONAL PLANNING: Organizational Planning is not about rules and 
procedures-- it's about designing an organization in a structured, 
thoughtful, results-oriented way. In Organization Planning, processes 
and procedures are designed to support the Mission and Vision 
Statements. It's based on results, not ideology.

LEADERSHIP: Organization Planning is a process Noisebridge needs, and 
I'd love to bring some leadership to that process. The great thing is 
that the wiki is filled to the brim with awesome ideas, proposals, and 
sentiments, created by all of us, which just needs to be massaged into 
an organized plan of action, through a non-dramatic, non-rushed process.

YOU: If anyone has suggestions for or interest in a Mission-based, 
results-oriented, Noisebridge Organizational Planning process, please 
contact me off-list.


Johny Radio

Stick It In Your Ear!

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