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

Naomi Most pnaomi at gmail.com
Sun Mar 24 02:52:08 UTC 2013

That's the huge issue in a conversation like this about a place like
Noisebridge: subjective experiences vary *wildly*.

I have personally never been made to feel scared for my well-being.
Then again, I'm one of those thick-skinned women with can smell
"broken" a mile away.

I *have* felt "generally uncomfortable" to the point where I didn't
want to be at Noisebridge.  Certain individuals have been the cause of
this.  Those individuals either change their ways or get kicked out,
but some persist despite obvious trollishness.  Given that this echoes
the general pattern of online communities, I don't think these
conditions have anything to do with Noisebridge in particular, but
rather "open" communities in general.

I *have* had stuff of mine gone missing (I'll never find another
leather jacket like that #sadpanda), so I don't leave anything there
anymore, not unless I have a friend looking after it.  I treat
Noisebridge like a public space -- e.g. a cafe or a public park -- not
like a guarded clubhouse.  And I get along in this way just fine.

So I am taking everyone's experiences in stride, trying to flesh out
my picture of the myriad ways Noisebridge expresses, and the
situations that influence the outcomes.


On Sat, Mar 23, 2013 at 6:29 PM, Andrew Byrne <andrew at pachakutech.com> wrote:
> I know some open source sandbox scheduling apps. Having someone at regular
> hours might inspire people to pick up the slack in the non-regular hours.
> Personally, I always thought there was a pretty strong culture of greeting
> the newcomer or acknowledging the familiar, but maybe I see things
> differently than the concerned. -dru
> On Mar 23, 2013 5:23 AM, "Eric W. Rasmussen" <ewr at majortek.com> wrote:
>> I’ve been watching this thread for a few days and I am disheartened to see
>> that nothing has changed at Noisebridge. The same problems arise every few
>> months and the same excuses / solutions are proposed. People talk and talk
>> but nothing ever gets done. I left almost six months ago due to the problems
>> being discussed and, coincidentally, some health issues. I’ve been
>> considering a return but am having second thoughts.
>> Noisebridge is a “Do-ocracy” in name but not in practice. I remember when
>> I was new and had a question, a few of the veterans were openly hostile or
>> apathetic. I decided to be the opposite.
>> It seems like almost every time I tried to improve the space I got
>> criticized in some way for my efforts. Once, I spent 16 hours cleaning up
>> Hacker Alley. It was a wreck and I found the world supply of CAT5 in the
>> process. Although I recieved a few appreciative comments, I received more
>> complaints about how I didn’t organize it correctly (or that I shouldn’t
>> throw away “junk”). I should remind you that I was relatively new and no one
>> helped me... at all.
>> People complain about “sleepers” in the space, but when I tried to kick
>> one out I got very little support. The incident almost resulted in physical
>> violence. Everyone in the area just ignored the situation. The belly aching
>> about the sleeping problem had been festering for weeks at the Tuesday
>> meetings and I decided to do something about it. Did I receive any
>> appreciation for kicking someone out that was already banned? NOPE.
>> One time I decided to sweep and mop the entire space. It took about 3
>> hours. When I reached the Hackatorium, the occupants didn’t even notice that
>> I was trying to reach under the table. No wonder there is a theft problem.
>> Everyone is so damned obtuse to their surroundings.
>> One night I had too many possessions and couldn’t carry it all home on my
>> bicycle. Absentmindedly, I had bought some stuff at the thrift store and
>> also had three computers because I had just given my Linux class. I decided
>> that I would leave my netbook in its leather briefcase on the Arduino shelf,
>> which I was asked to help curate. I figured it would be safe overnight.
>> NOPE. One of the members saw it on the shelf and took it out to the main
>> work table.... where he left it unattended for hours (I have witnesses).
>> Another user recognized it as mine and took it. I learned that my laptop had
>> grown legs the next morning via email. I was ultimately blamed for this
>> “theft” by not only the member that removed it, but by others as well. I was
>> told that I shouldn’t have put anything on the “Member” shelf because I am
>> not a “Member”.  The member went so far as to say that he thought it was a
>> donation.
>> Once, I caught a chronic thief steal money out of a donation box. Did he
>> get banned? NOPE.  When an entire donation box was stolen, I took it upon
>> myself to construct cables and locks to secure them. Also, I replaced the
>> stolen one. When I tried to hand the keys to THE PRESIDENT of Noisebridge,
>> she looked at me like I was some kind of asshole. I only asked her because
>> Danny didn’t want the responsibility of having keys to the cash. Somehow, by
>> replacing and securing the donation boxes using my own money, I became
>> responsible for collecting the donations as well. And let’s not forget the
>> cries, “We don’t believe in locks, man!”. Is that so? Well, I don’t believe
>> in theives and I left the keys with a non-member on my last day. I hope you
>> got them. Did anyone thank me for that? NOPE.
>> I was usually willing to give a thorough and cheerful tour for newcomers.
>> Sometimes I gave as many as 4-5 tours a day. Sometimes it was a burden, but
>> it was one of my ways of giving back because I’m poor. At the end of every
>> tour I would say, "OK. Hang out. Talk to people. If you have any questions
>> I'll be over there". Once I met a very smart, nice woman that I dated for a
>> short while. Greeting people at the door is a great way to meet interesting
>> people. That’s all I’m saying.
>> I get it. Nerds are socially retarded. Weev, for instance. Why that
>> asshole was never banned escapes me. People that defend that bigoted
>> narcissist just don’t know him very well. It’s one thing to tell a joke that
>> pokes fun at particular groups of people, it’s another to flaunt words like,
>> “Faggot”, “Nigger” and “Bitch”, and mean it.
>> The door is not the problem. There are six different ways to enter
>> Noisebridge.
>> A key
>> A code
>> Pony URL
>> Android App (also Pony)
>> Buzzing in
>> Being let in at the gate by someone else
>> Solution:
>> Always have a Floor Monitor on duty. When one leaves, a new person is
>> elected. A TRUSTED person. This person would leave what he/she is doing once
>> an hour (or so) and walk the space to make sure no one is sleeping/stealing.
>> This person would moderate any disputes that arise, if any. In fact, it
>> would be a good way of making someone with a limited income an “Honorary
>> Member”. Shifts could be established. Would this person get paid? NOPE. It’s
>> quid pro quo. It could also be part of the Membership petition. If a person
>> wants to become a member they have to be a monitor for 8 hours a week for a
>> month. I’m just grabbing numbers out of the air.
>> “But that doesn’t jive with my anarchistic ideology”, says the Chaos
>> Major. Whatever...
>> The problem is that no one is taking responsibility for the space. Have I
>> ever refused to let someone in? You betcha. Why? Because I didn’t know them
>> and/or like their demeanor. I didn’t want to be responsible for them. It
>> only happened a couple of times. But on the most part, I engaged people.
>> You don’t have to act like the fucking TSA to have security and personal
>> safety. You have to pay attention to the people around you and act on your
>> instincts. You don’t have to be harsh, either. If someone is breaking a
>> rule, correct it. If someone is not being EXCELLENT, call them on it (ahem,
>> weev). Noisebridge lacks civility and authority.
>> I'll keep watching the discuss list and decide at a later date if I want
>> to return.
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Naomi Theora Most
naomi at nthmost.com

skype: nthmost


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