[Noisebridge-discuss] door "security": culture, not policy.

Naomi Most pnaomi at gmail.com
Thu Mar 21 04:51:31 UTC 2013

Due to recent thefts and other unexcellent (and frankly disturbing)
issues, apparently the idea is circulating that "we" "shouldn't"
"just" "open the door".

I just had a sort of aggro conversation with some people sitting
around talking about this here at NB.  There seems to be a disconnect
for some people who are not used to acting perceptively versus
judgementally (I'm using the Myers-Briggs qualifications here).

If NB starts consensing on things that have to do with setting
Policies of any kind, heuristics that tell us how to surveil and
police ourselves, then NB is becoming a very different place, and I'm
not really interested in that.

If on the other hand we will keep on with not setting explicit
Policies (as I would expect and hope), but we still do want to start
initiating some measures of change that will create a more secure
environment, then I would suggest that Culture evolve towards the
following General Template of Door-Answering:

0. Doorbell rings.  Like a well-trained dog, you think about opening the door.

1. Ask yourself:  Do I know this person?  If not, do I feel like
*greeting* the person in some way?  If you don't feel you have the
social or emotional health at the moment to greet a person (and that's
totally okay), then maybe you shouldn't answer the doorbell.  You
could suggest that someone else open the door instead.

2. If you do want to answer the doorbell, you are now "on the hook"
for greeting that person.  You are agreeing, in a way, to be that
person's Sponsor.

3. The person comes up.  You greet them.  Ask their name, whether
they've been to NB before, if they're looking for a class, etc.
Hacker small talk.  No required information -- you are simply
humanizing Noisebridge and initiating empathy in the new person.

4. ...Profit.  By which I mean experience a lot less crappy shit happening.

Notice that at no point do I talk about checking the person out to see
if you "like" them, or if they look shady or whatever.  That doesn't
matter.  Perfectly decent-looking human beings have been known to do
really shitty things.  And come on, how many of us *don't* look shady
at least 50% of the time.

What matters is that you make the effort to build a bridge of empathy
(however small and superficial), because studies show time and again
that this simple act of humanization reduces crimes of opportunity
(e.g. petty theft) by huge margins.

I hope it makes sense why I talk about this being Culture Not Policy.
And fortunately, the above heuristics completely obviate the need to
make snap judgement calls about anybody.

I'm not talking about laying down any laws, or designating anybody
with special privileges, or setting Policies that every individual
must follow.  Rather we are talking about the Noisebridge organization
agreeing to form new cultural Habits.

I can talk more about the behavioral psychology behind the above, but
at the moment I have a lot of ice cream to eat, so I'mma go do that.


Naomi Theora Most
naomi at nthmost.com

skype: nthmost


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