[Noisebridge-discuss] Keeping associate members in their place

Al Sweigart asweigart at gmail.com
Thu Dec 19 00:11:00 UTC 2013

At the previous weekly meeting I helped put forward a consensus proposal to
replace consensus with majority vote. We talked about it for about 15
minutes before it was blocked by a couple members. But it did make me think
of something.

As a capital-M member, I have a lot of power. I can unilaterally block any
measure that I don't like. I *can* negotiate and compromise with other
folks in the community, or I can cut off something after a few minutes of
discussion. Associate members can't block: they only have influence.
Speaking for myself, having power is a much nicer privilege than having
just influence.

I'm guessing that other members also like having this power in the
Noisebridge community. Taking away consensus and replacing it with majority
voting (and promoting associate members to capital-M members) would lessen
my power because my vote would then only be worth as much as any other
member's. I couldn't overrule the majority.

"Al, are you saying that capital-M members block abandoning consensus not
because they see problems with the alternatives, but rather because they
want to keep the power the status quo gives them?"

Make no mistake, that is exactly what I'm saying. Capital-M members
unilaterally block any change that would prevent them from being able to
unilaterally block whatever they don't like. They are essentially voting to
keep other people from voting, and I call bullshit on that. There's clearly
been a large amount of people at Noisebridge expressing their
dissatisfaction with consensus, but the members who block change (with
paper-thin reasoning) don't offer their own alternatives because they don't
*want* any alternatives.

The associate member role exists to placate new people from seeking out
full membership. Continuing with consensus makes Noisebridge exclusive and
unequal BY DESIGN, and my point is that any member who pretends they aren't
trying to maintain their privileged status is being laughably disingenuous.

I invite those who disagree to voice their disagreements in this thread.

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