[Noisebridge-discuss] proposal to increase membership at noisebridge by changing the rules

Danny O'Brien danny at spesh.com
Mon Oct 14 03:06:35 UTC 2013

I'm not averse to the idea behind this -- we definitely need to fix
the problem of the membership as absentee landlords, and divorced from
the everyday community, but I'm not yet convinced this is the way to
do it. A couple of problems as I see it:

* The number of people who I know aren't members because of money is
heavily outweighed by the number of people who aren't members because
they're scared of being blocked/the consensus process/the time and
hassle it takes.

* People always assume that it's the membership that funds noisebridge
(and so therefore they don't have to donate) but I don't think that
will actually be fixed by completely divorcing membership from
payment. I think that people will *still* think membership funds
noisebridge, but now it really won't at all.

* Mildly worried that people would just stop paying membership fees,
which would put our already slightly deformed finances completely out
of whack.

* One of the biggest deal-breakers for this proposal for me though, is
that the payment system is the only way we ever get non-attending
members to ever stop being members. If you don't pay for three months,
you stop being a member (unless you ask to be put on hiatus).

If you had this system, members would be members forever, which would
actually *increase* the number of people who could just turn up and
block, etc. Unless you have some check or balance in there to allow
old members to fade away, they'll just sit around being even more
distant and status quo-ey, which seems to be what you are trying to
avoid here.


On Sun, Oct 13, 2013 at 9:38 PM, Jake <jake at spaz.org> wrote:
> currently noisebridge is used by 99% non-Members, 1% Members.
> currently, 99% of noisebridge Members do not use noisebridge.
> currently, Membership at noisebridge requires ongoing cash flow into
> noisebridge either by tradition or rules, it is not clear which.
> I think this is not working out.  Noisebridge's rent gets paid but the
> people who come to noisebridge have zero motivation to become a member, and
> so they don't bother.  We should be adding several new members weekly.
> Membership at Noisebridge should be a valuable tool to encourage cooperation
> and a sense of belonging, while reinforcing accountability and support
> between users of the space (including Members and Guests)
> There is no reason for membership to be tied to giving money to noisebridge.
> If someone is excellent and wants to be a part of noisebridge, and no Member
> blocks them, they should be allowed to join. Members should remain in good
> standing regardless of their financial contributions as long as they are
> remaining excellent and accountable for their actions, and those of their
> guests.
> I propose that Noisebridge change the rules of Membership to do away with
> the cash flow requirement, and to expressly do away with the informal and
> inappropriate "bribe", which defeats the purpose of asking the potential
> member to step out while their membership is consensed upon _or_not_.
> We agreed last week to close noisebridge to non-Members from 23:00 to 10:00
> every day, with the exception of guests of Members and
> Members-in-Application who have two signatures.  We will be able to take
> advantage of this policy by encouraging more SUPPORTERS of noisebridge to
> become Members.  We can do this by removing the payment requirement.
> If people want to support Noisebridge with money, they should feel free to
> do so, whether they are Members or not.  If people want to support
> Noisebridge with their presence, excellence, and accountability to one
> another, they should feel free to do so, whether they are in a position to
> supply cash or not.  I think this should be obvious.
> I ask that absentee Members, who have been unable or unmotivated to offer
> their support in the form of their presence, excellence, and accountability,
> please stand aside from this proposal if they have objections (or offer
> friendly amendments in the spirit of problem solving).  People who are not
> regularly using the space should not stand in the way of improvements to be
> made by those who do use and contribute to the space regularly.
> The proposal should be worded as follows:
> Membership to Noisebridge should no longer be dependant on a person's
> ability or willingness to pay money to noisebridge, or to bring food or beer
> to a meeting, but only on their ability to acquire sponsorship signatures
> and be consensed upon at a meeting, after leaving the meeting to give
> opportunity for any objections to be discussed before they return.
> Members will thus enter and remain in good standing without regard to any
> financial contributions they do or do not make in that time.
> -jake
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