[Noisebridge-discuss] Keeping associate members in their place

Mike Schachter cubicgoats at gmail.com
Thu Dec 19 01:34:34 UTC 2013

Al, I don't feel threatened by Members when I'm at Noisebridge, but feel
threatened and frustrated by the tone of your email. I hope you can relax a
bit, and maybe reduce the fear-mongering. The momentum behind changing the
governing structure of Noisebridge doesn't have to be fraught with

I agree, as I did on the thread that had Madelynn's very well thought-out
proposals for solutions, that consensus for Membership, by design, reduces
inclusiveness and promotes conflicts-of-interest. It probably reduces the
number of people who become Members, and that hurts the community. Positive
change can happen over time, after many reasonable conversations between
many people.


On Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 4:11 PM, Al Sweigart <asweigart at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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.
> -Al
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