[Noisebridge-discuss] Twenty-three theses (was: Re: To the @#$er that broke into my member shelf...)

Naomi Most pnaomi at gmail.com
Sun Mar 24 03:16:32 UTC 2013

Extremely well done, Seth.  Thank you.


On Sat, Mar 23, 2013 at 11:42 AM, Seth David Schoen <schoen at loyalty.org> wrote:
> Gavin Knight writes:
>> Seth,
>> Out of ignorance, what do you feel is the differences physically,
>> culturally etc that allowed this at the previous location and not now
> Hi Gavin,
> I don't know what accounts for the difference, or at least I don't have a
> single pet theory about it.  It makes me sad, and I realize that I was much
> more enthusiastic about the old Noisebridge.
> I've tried to brainstorm things that changed; here are 23 (a classic
> hacker number) notions about similarities and differences from 83C to 2169
> -- with a focus on those that might be relevant to thefts and other ways
> that Noisebridge participants treat one another abusively.  These are
> based on my own perceptions and recollections and might be wrong or
> incomplete.
> These are in alphabetical order to stress that I'm not trying to make a
> claim that a particular one is clearly more important than another.  Also,
> not all of these things are changes for the worse.
> 2169 has become known as an appealing target to people intending to abuse
> its hospitality and resources, in a way that never happened to 83C.
> 83C held fewer, and smaller, widely-advertised public events, solely due
> to space limitations.
> 83C was in a physically less prominent location than the new space, with
> much less foot traffic passing directly in front of the space.
> 83C was more (not less!) focused on protecting attendees' anonymity and
> privacy, with more explicitly advocated norms against cameras and
> photography in the space, in favor of pseudonyms and proxies, and
> against publishing records of who attended meetings or became a member.
> In large part, I think people worried that documented participation in
> a "hacker space" could stigmatize people in the outside world.  Some
> of these norms were also modeled on European privacy activists'
> anti-photography norms.
> 83C was smaller, so most users of the space were physically in view of
> other users at all times.
> A higher fraction of the community at 83C attended and participated in
> Tuesday night weekly meetings.
> Answering the door at 83C required physically opening it by hand, and
> going to let a guest in personally.
> It was against Noisebridge's norms to create rules in advance of or in
> anticipation of problems, but not in response to problems.  Most members
> appeared willing to create rules (beyond the one rule of excellence) in
> response to problems that actually occurred; the watchword seemed to be
> not "don't create rules" but "don't create rules pre-emptively".
> Membership was more valued at 83C; members took more responsibility
> and received more respect, and there was much stronger social pressure
> encouraging, though not requiring, regular users of the space to seek
> membership.  I perceived a sense that ideally every regular Noisebridge
> user would seek membership.  However, there was no clear consensus that
> members should receive any concrete benefits over non-members, and there
> was a clear understanding that non-members were welcome to use the space.
> More people who used 83C were regularly employed in technology-related
> jobs than at 2169.
> New visitors to 83C appeared to feel more obligation to introduce
> themselves and account for themselves.  I don't know whether this is
> because of how they were treated, because of the fact that a
> particular individual had just physically opened the door for them,
> because they had less of an understanding that the space was
> automatically or completely "open to the public", or for some other
> reason.
> New visitors and new prospective members were often introduced in
> person at a Tuesday night meeting.  Some were visiting from far away
> and they were welcomed and congratulated for having made the trip.
> Noisebridge's existence at 83C was much less widely publicized and
> advertised.  Noisebridge was much less famous then than it is now.
> Non-members wanting to use 83C for events or gatherings were more
> strictly admonished to bring their plans to a weekly meeting ahead
> of time.
> Organized, pre-announced group events may have represented a larger
> overall fraction of the uses of 83C.  In any case, they were much more
> conspicuous due to the smaller space and lack of many separate rooms.
> The 83C space frequently closed at night, and it always routinely closed
> when the last keyholder left.  Keyholders and non-keyholders generally
> regarded this as necessary and appropriate.  No non-keyholders expected
> or demanded to be present in the absence of a keyholder.  There was a
> widespread view that only members should be keyholders, but this view
> never commanded unanimity or formal consensus and was never implemented
> in practice, with several members explicitly acting against it.
> The community at 83C more often compared itself to other existing
> hackerspaces and was more apt to express curiosity about what those
> hackerspaces were doing, how they were organized, and what their
> communities were like.
> The community of users of 83C was smaller, so the users and members were
> much more likely to know and recognize each other.
> The consensus process may have been taken more seriously at 83C; in any
> case, a higher fraction of users of the space had heard of it and had
> some general understanding of its nature.  More questions were brought
> to formal consensus, although there was no clear rule or consensus
> about what topics needed to be brought to consensus.
> The lease on 83C was originally in the name of a few Noisebridge board
> members, individually, rather than in the name of the corporation.  This
> created social pressure to respect the space as a way of respecting the
> leaseholders, and because of their personal liability for it.  I think
> it also created a sense of gratitude to them for taking a risk and
> expending resources so that the space could exist in the first place.
> The mediation or conflict-resolution processes were less well-developed
> at 83C than they are at 2169.  I suspect more people at 83C would have
> said that conflict-resolution was important, but that doesn't mean it
> was practiced more or better there.  There were already multiple people
> who simply stopped coming to 83C rather than attempting to use some
> official conflict-resolution method or channel.  Defining "excellence"
> then was probably as difficult as it is today.
> There was a more defined culture about the intended purpose of the space
> at 83C (though I don't think I could call it "well-defined").
> There were fewer valuable tools and instruments at 83C than there are
> at 2169.
> --
> Seth David Schoen <schoen at loyalty.org>      |  No haiku patents
>      http://www.loyalty.org/~schoen/        |  means I've no incentive to
>   FD9A6AA28193A9F03D4BF4ADC11B36DC9C7DD150  |        -- Don Marti
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Naomi Theora Most
naomi at nthmost.com

skype: nthmost


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