[Noisebridge-discuss] proposal for noisebridge membership changes

Jake jake at spaz.org
Mon Sep 30 09:10:29 UTC 2013

Last week it was proposed that Noisebridge make changes to our access 
policy.  The basic idea is that if someone is a Member or Associate Member 
of Noisebridge, they are allowed to be in the space at any time (with the 
usual exception of leaving when asked for conflict resolution purposes)

Further it should be that if someone who is not a Member or Associate 
Member of the space, they can be in the space if they are the guest of a 
Member or Associate Member who is present.

In most ways this will cause only a subtle ripple in the way Noisebridge 
has been working until now.  If a person is in the space and the person 
who let them in has left, if they are not doing anything objectionable it 
is unlikely that anyone will even ask them if they have a sponsor.
However, if someone is being unexcellent and there is no one present who 
is their sponsor, it is now possible to ask the person to leave due to no 
fault of their own.

This is very valuable, because up until now it has been necessary to wait 
until someone does something fucked up, and then try to use that as a 
lever to get them to leave.  This generally leads to unpleasantness, 
especially since you are inherently asking someone to admit to wrongdoing 
by the act of leaving voluntarily.  This has been nothing but trouble the 
whole time, and 90% of the time when someone is being shitty, our response 
is to let it continue because the alternative is getting in an argument 
with an asshole.

>From now on, with this new arrangement, Noisebridge is by default open 
only to Member and Associate Members and their guests.  Of course anyone 
who rings the doorbell is very likely to be let in by a Member or 
Associate Member, and is sponsored by the person who lets them in until 
that person leaves or ends the sponsorship (in case of a bad fit for that 
person at noisebridge).  If a person without a sponsor is present and a 
problem comes up, any Member or Associate Member can volunteer to be their 
sponsor if one thinks they should stay and continue hacking (after solving 
the problem with their new sponsor's help).

I see this as a win for all visions of Noisebridge access policy, since it 
takes away nothing from what we can choose to do, and it gives us so much 
more freedom to do what we need to do without insulting people who need to 

I think the most important aspect of this arrangement is the concept of 
Accountability.  If a Member or Associate Member does something 
questionable at noisebridge, there is definitely a way to contact that 
person to discuss the situation, and almost certainly a friend of theirs 
who is also a Member or Associate Member who can help facilitate problem 
solving.  This is how we maintain the excellence of our community and 
environment, by Accountability.

With Guests, there is no inherent accountability.  When someone walks in 
the door and is greeted by no one, and answers to no one, they have been 
told no rules and there is not even a person who they can ask questions 
about what is appropriate for our space.

With this new system, every person who is let in the door is likely to be 
introduced to a specific person who will explain, "You are my guest here, 
and if there are any issues such as with another person, you can come to 
me or use my name as your sponsor, as long as I am here." This means that 
every new person is immediately granted accountability to our network 
through a Member or Associate Member as their proxy server.

Any guest who, for example is told that they should not be sleeping on the 
couch in the library, will either answer by correcting their behavior 
(hopefully), or they will involve their sponsor somehow (perhaps by 
invoking their name as a defense of their activity).  At that point their 
sponsor, who as a Member or Associate Member has accountability to the 
community, can be asked to solve that problem in a productive way.  When 
they come to their Guest and affirm that their invitation did not extend 
to permission to sleep in the library, the guest sees it coming from the 
same person who originally let them in and thus has the right to make them 
leave if they don't stop fucking up.

If the person sleeping in the library isn't able to produce a Member or 
Associate Member who is present at the time, and none who are present want 
to sponsor them at that time, they can be asked to leave due to no fault 
of their own, but simply because it is noisebridge policy.

One justification for this policy is that Noisebridge Members and 
Associate Members look out for one another by protecting the space and the 
people in it from those who are not excellent enough to attract a sponsor. 
We do that for each other so that we can benefit from the improved culture 
and environment, as well as decreased entropy and theft, that resluts.

I am out of town so i won't be able to participate in the meeting,
but two things I wanted to emphasize are:

1:  I don't think we should do it this way part of the time, i think we 
shoud be this way 24/7 all the fucking time.  anyone who comes in the door 
gets introduced to a person who will sponsor them at that time, or 
alternately give them a quick tour and then an invitation to come back 
another time, or perhaps there are no members in the space who want to 
sponsor a guest at that time and the person doesn't get to come in.  I 
think this last option will happen very infrequently but if it does, I 
don't think we're losing anything.  If a person was going to come to 
noisebridge but there was nobody there who wanted to give them a 
tour/introduction, they are better off coming back another time.

2:  Remember that this is a subtle change.  The biggest practical effect 
is that it makes it possible to tell someone (who has NO sponsor) that 
they have to leave due to no fault of their own, but simply because of 
policy.  This is a problem-solving feature and a de-escalation strategy 
of which we should recognize the value.

So, come tuesday, pass the fucking thing and don't limit it to certain 


P.S. the typo was on purpose to see if you were paying attention.

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