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

Naomi Most pnaomi at gmail.com
Thu Mar 21 19:21:35 UTC 2013

Yeah I started thinking about some of that stuff last night too.
(I've been deliberately training myself to avoid writing monolithic,
all-encompassing emails.)

Part of the issue with Challenge Part I is simply that, since being
greeted at the door isn't currently the expected response to having
been buzzed in, someone just walking in will not realize that the
person greeting them is performing the "greeter" function.  So

I have in the past been very irritated at people greeting me and
asking if I'd been there before, etc.  Sometimes it seems like a
sexist assumption being made about me.  Sometimes I have just come
from a workout, and my nervous system is blown out from lifting twice
my weight, and I walk into the front room with a blank look on my face
as if I don't know where I am or what I'm doing there (that's 50%

However, if the explicit cultural convention that we want to put in
place IS the greeting, I won't take offense at this anymore.  In fact,
over time, it will start to seem "weird" to get buzzed in and then
have no one show up to the door to greet.

I think you're right, Snail, that some conversational guidelines would
really help here.

Let's just first acknowledge the difficulty of the problem:  it is the
*definition* of Awkward to have to greet someone you have personally
never met before under the circumstance that you have to act as though
you represent an community, and you don't have the information about
whether the person you are greeting is part of your community.  It's
just weird.

So let's work on that.

But again, over time, this interchange will become, you know, like
dialup modem handshaking.   Awkward and full of errors, but strangely
warm and reassuring.


On Thu, Mar 21, 2013 at 10:45 AM, Snail <snailtsunami at gmail.com> wrote:
> I will give you a virtual {{hugcoin}} because this is exactly what we should do.
> And yet, so many people have tried to get others to do these exact
> same simple steps in the space to no avail. Maybe we can figure out
> why.
> Challenge: Part I
> Lessons in social interactions for people who don't know how to do the
> social stuff.
> A few times, I tried to greet people I didn't recognize and introduce
> myself and ask for their names. People would act really weird and
> sometimes annoyed because they were regular visitors, not strangers,
> and I just had no idea who they were. They were not bad people, and
> honestly I would be annoyed if someone tried to introduce me to the
> space every time I walked upstairs or asked me why I was there.
> The WORST thing you can say is stuff like, "Who are you? Why are you here?"
> The best way to phrase this is not an inquisition, but to just say,
> "Hi, I'm _____, are you new?", and then it's easy for people to say
> "No" or "yes, but I'm meeting someone here" and the ACTUALLY new
> people are really happy to be greeted and will usually ask you
> questions, instead of the other way around, which is how it should be.
> Just practice that sentence and everything will be O.K.
> Challenge: Part II
> How do you re-train an existing culture that was introduced to the
> space just by being buzzed in with no greeting.
> One case: the other night, one guy [who I don't know his name or
> really recognize him] growled at a bunch of us angrily because we were
> standing in sight of the door buzzer and weren't walking over to let
> in immediately whoever was downstairs. He hit the button and walked
> away, shouting at us, "You heard the buzzer!!", or somesuch statement.
> Maybe I should have talked him and explained that not everyone lets
> people in without greeting them, and that we're not obligated to do
> this every 5 minutes for every person, that maybe he should do this,
> too, instead of just yelling and hitting the button and stomping
> around.
> Maybe if I did these things I would know people's actual names instead
> of having to refer to them as "grumpy yelling dude #1", "grumpy
> yelling dude #2", etc. etc.
> On Wed, Mar 20, 2013 at 9:51 PM, Naomi Most <pnaomi at gmail.com> wrote:
>> 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.
>> Cheers,
>> Naomi
>> --
>> Naomi Theora Most
>> naomi at nthmost.com
>> +1-415-728-7490
>> skype: nthmost
>> http://twitter.com/nthmost
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> --
> -Snailssnailssnailssnailssnailssnailssnails
> ............. _ at y

Naomi Theora Most
naomi at nthmost.com

skype: nthmost


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