[Noisebridge-discuss] Structural Nihilism

jim jim at well.com
Thu Dec 19 22:01:22 UTC 2013

JS: my comments interspersed below 

On Thu, 2013-12-19 at 13:43 -0800, Johny Radio wrote:
> On 12/19/2013 12:04 PM, jim wrote:
> > My take was to have faith in others and don't try to fix problems--
> > let the group dynamics take their courses and hope for the best 
> > (and get active with respect to things that impinge directly). 
> Jim, i have not found anything in the archive supporting "have faith
> in others" or "hope for the best". But you're correct about not fixing
> problems before they happen. Here's a post from Mitch, 2008:
JS: right: it was just my take. 

> "I think we all agree that we want as simple a set of bylaws as possible, 
> finding an organizational structure that meets this balance:  
> making it as likely as possible that the organization moves forward smoothly into the future, 
> while not trying to solve too many possible awful problems that may arise in some dystopian future."
JS: I agree 

> As a designer, I believe the simplest, most uncomplicated system is
> BEST. So, I applaud Mitch for that. Mitch is by the way an impeccable,
> professional designer. 
> I also found some interesting quotes from Jim, 2008:
> i raised the topic of having a financial policy. two members asked that i do create one. so i took on the job 
> ...policies should not include specific implementation details (e.g. The statement "NoiseBridge will have a checking account and maintain a CD ladder."
>    i am currently unemployed and have been for months; i like it that way, but money is tight.
> it looks like you've erased everything i'd originally written. 
>  Jacob Appelbaum wrote:
> 	It's been rewritten to be what has been discussed and largely agreed upon to death in (endless) meetings.
> 	while I'm totally happy with you making suggestions, I understand that you've been to just a single meeting. 
>  Jim wrote:
>    i joined the mailing list august 4 and went to one meeting (at muddy waters) since. 
> https://www.noisebridge.net/pipermail/noisebridge-discuss/2008-October/000973.html
JS: this is quite ancient in Noisebridge history (I believe 

> There too, one gets a sense of a desire to keep things simple. 
> A simpler foundation requires something noisebridge lacks: structural
> adaptability. The ability to easily and quickly self-correct (eg, if a
> process or procedure is failing to achieve it's intended function, it
> can self-improve as needed, not as-"approved"). 
JS: Noisebridge pretty much lacks structure, so yes, you're right. 

> Doacracy was maybe an attempt to give us that: "Don't ask permission".
> Which is great, but basically individualistic. Doacracy does not
> produce "all of us as a group agree to follow an equipment
> donation-process." It doesn't produce community-wide teamwork. 
JS: very good point! 

> Software can write highly planned, designed software which never
> changes, where the designers look ahead and try to predict various
> risks. This has strengths and weaknesses. Vs self-correcting,
> self-modifying code, inelligent code, which starts out completely
> formless. Also has strengths and weaknesses. 
> Noisebridge could use some of both. Problem is, some Noisebridgers
> want neither. They want structural nihilism; they equate organization,
> agreed community standards, structure, procedure, and process with
> Fascism or bullyism. Personally, I really do NOT see what structural
> nihilism has to do with hacking. Strucural nihilism seems like the
> OPPOSITE of hacking.
> Might be partly due to concerns about surveillance. The Sun Tzu "be
> formless" thing. 
JS: well, yes, but probably helpful to inspect the underlying 
attitudes behind fear of surveillance (I don't share them, 
but I want to respect those who do). 

JS: My understanding of NB founding principles is to have 
a space where people can work on stuff in collaboration 
with minimal concerns for maintenance: the dirt will 
collect, the toilets filthy, the floors grimy, solder 
used up.... Those conditions will prompt people to action 
(so is my interpretation). Big thanks to those volunteers 
who have managed the mailing lists and the network and 
the interface to the internet! 
    There was no perception of a need to determine who 
is a hacker or what does "hack" mean. Nor was there any 
anticipation of personal affronts of whatever nature other 
than the hope that "Treat Each Other Excellently" would 
spur people to help ameliorate problems and offenses (so 
is my interpretation). 
> Johny Radio
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