[Noisebridge-discuss] Keeping associate members in their place

Rubin Abdi rubin at starset.net
Thu Dec 19 02:08:23 UTC 2013

Note: I am currently not a full member, on hiatus until Jan 1st of 2099.

Al Sweigart wrote, On 2013-12-18 16:11:
> 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.

This is incorrect. A member can disagree with the current form of a
consensus item and state they would block that item from being consented
on and ratified in one form or another.

This however doesn't equate to some ability to cut off discussion, that
is up to the group running the meeting to decide. Classically it's been
asked as a curtsey to defer that discussion to another medium (like this
discussion list or the one bringing up the item chat with the blocker)
if it seems like the item is eating too much time during the meeting.

This new discussion (post being blocked) eventually leads into one of
four directions...

1. The general idea behind the consensus item is totally dropped and no
one brings it up anymore.
2. Discussion prompts to change how the consensus items works so that
all involved in the consensus process are happy with it, everyone
agrees, no one blocks this new item, which most likely comes up at the
next meeting.
3. Discussion with the party blocking continues, and they eventually
change their mind and pull back on their block.
4. Forks 2 or 3 happen, but someone blocks on something new, or a new
person shows up and gets their undies in a twist, and the cycle repeats.

With all that being said, no individual person, member or not, have the
power or right to cut off discussion. This is called censorship. Al, the
thing you just described sounds like members have the ability to censor
discussion (and it's vague if you're saying this is at a meeting or
through some other form of communication). Your interpretation isn't

In the past we've had many different ideas go through different
iterations of consensus items over months at a time, some even forking
into new items, many eventually passing. This wouldn't have been
possibly if someone with membership status said "Blocked, and you're not
allowed to talk about this anymore."

And something Noisebridge really sucks at, blocking shouldn't generally
happen right at the tip of the meeting. If you have an item you'd like
to push for consensus, start discussion for it early, get everyone's
input a week beforehand. People should be excellent and let you know if
the current form the consensus item is in isn't cool and why they would
block it. Tweak it, make everyone happy, then go to the meeting. Sadly I
feel like the vast majority of items brought up for consensus don't go
through this process, and end up pissing a lot of people off because
discussion involving it doesn't happen until the meeting.

I do recognize an argument could be made that multiple people in a
meeting can decide to voice out their dislike in a discussion around a
consensus item be shelved, and all those people could be members, and
everyone else in the meeting agrees that is the thing to do. That still
doesn't mean only members get this magical ability and specifically it
must be followed and respected by others.

If I had this super power when I was a member, Noisebridge would be a
much different place now. We would have red uniforms with emblems on the
left sleeves for one. Also a mandatory draft, and a platform higher up
than where everyone else works, for me to sit at and eat grapes.

So anyhow, Al, please watch your wording. Because based off what you
said, we shouldn't even really be having this discussion now.

rubin at starset.net

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