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

rachel lyra hospodar rachelyra at gmail.com
Sun Mar 24 03:52:25 UTC 2013

Any sarcasm contained in my previous message is general, vaguely comedic in
intent, and not specifically aimed at any given individual.

Heaven forfend.
On Mar 23, 2013 5:25 PM, "rachel lyra hospodar" <rachelyra at gmail.com> wrote:

> When commenting on the likelihood of things being stolen it may be useful
> to note that we are now in the middle of a global financial recession.
> Maybe you've heard about it? It has been ongoing since 2008 and has
> continuing ripple effects across many communities, especially ones that
> were already marginal.  This has affected many people and changed the way
> valuables may be perceived or treated. Relevant to our particular location,
> SF is a destination for many marginalized people who are seeking social
> services (such as healthcare), because they exist in some places and not
> others.
> Additionally, the income disparity between young technology workers and
> the society within which they exist is increasing dramatically, affecting
> the social dynamics anyplace 'young technology workers' congregate.
> I think nthmost is right on in describing our most easily addressed
> problem currently as a scaling issue.
> TL;DR perhaps there are 'more homeless people than before' on a slightly
> larger scale than within our priveleged, myopic clubhouse.
> R.
> On Mar 23, 2013 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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>> Noisebridge-discuss at lists.noisebridge.net
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