[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 04:46:23 UTC 2013

On Mar 23, 2013 9:03 PM, "Garrett Mace" <garrettmace at gmail.com> wrote:
> Do you believe this explanation should modify any approaches to a

It's data that should be included in the equations. We all knew about the
crash, of course.  We may not have been considering its relevance WRT the
shifts in San Francisco's culture or Noisebridge's fortunes. I believe we
weren't, because it hasn't come up at all in the many conversations I have
heard and/or participated in about theft etc. in the space.

When saying to ourselves, 'gosh, things have gotten really different around
here, what has happened to cause this' I think it's important to note the
vast changes in our enveloping culture.  Our responses to outside
influences might want to change, as the nature and forcefulness of those
influences changes.

As vast quantities of our peers fall off a financial cliff, and we continue
to manage to hold on to the grasses at the edge, our relative social
position is changing.

If you don't find this relevant, that's cool.

I do.

> Was Noisebridge ever intended or equipped to provide social services to
marginalized people?

No, unless you define 'soldering stations' and 'internet' and 'wiki' and
'learning infrastructure' as social services.

> Are there services nearby that such people could be guided to better
serve their physical and mental needs?

Of course. I am aware of many attempts to provide this information &
guidance. Feel free to join these endeavors, they do not interest me per se.

My first experiences at noisebridge involved using the equipment (which I
had to repair first), someone geeking out on tea at 2am, and watching
Frantisek go to bed in the dj booth or on the roof. But now Things Are
Somehow Worse.  If we want to stay solvent, viable, what-have-you, we must
at least acknowledge changes that take place in the world around us.

> Many Noisebridge members and regulars appear to be socially involved with
other volunteer groups. Is that something they want to extend to all the
spaces they frequent?


> On Mar 23, 2013, at 5:25 PM, rachel lyra hospodar <rachelyra at gmail.com>
>> 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
>> 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
>>> single pet theory about it.  It makes me sad, and I realize that I was
>>> 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
>>> -- 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.
>>> not all of these things are changes for the worse.
>>> 2169 has become known as an appealing target to people intending to
>>> 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
>>> 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
>>>   FD9A6AA28193A9F03D4BF4ADC11B36DC9C7DD150  |        -- Don Marti
>>> _______________________________________________
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>>> Noisebridge-discuss at lists.noisebridge.net
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