[Noisebridge-discuss] why would hackers come to noisebridge?

Marc Juul juul at labitat.dk
Thu Mar 13 14:19:04 UTC 2014

On Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 3:07 PM, Jake <jake at spaz.org> wrote:
> well, you're doing more to fix the infrastructure than I have lately, but
> that is not the kind of problems i'm talking about.
> my complaint is that the culture of noisebridge has become so uninteresting
> and unrelated to hacking that it is bordering on irrelavent. The fact that
> you are volunteering your time to maintain the internet at a homeless
> shelter is quaint, but it doesn't change the fact that most hackers don't
> want to go there anymore.
> there are two categories of reasons why a hacker would want to go to
> noisebridge:
> 1> other hackers are there, and people they can relate to and share
> interesting conversation with, or just be around while working on projects
> of their own.  People are there experimenting on things, hardware software
> and other, and one might learn something or teach something or make new
> friends with similar interests.
> 2> there is a "safe space" with technical infrastructure.  This means that
> people who refuse to be HIGHLY accountable for problematic behavior are
> simply not permitted to be present (a much higher standard than we have
> now).  Oh and lets not forget at least one usable bathroom with a decent
> toilet seat and toilet paper.
> This also means that the technical infrastructure is in place and usable.
> For software people this means the internet works and there are outlets,
> clean places to sit (with decent posture, not fall-in couches) and tables
> for laptops and room to work with others.
> For hardware this means that tools are more than just the bottom of the
> barrel (try finding a pair of scissors or a phillips screwdriver) and that
> there are actually nice things (a soldering iron with a temperature control
> instead of $2 china disposable irons), AND more advanced tools are available
> such as microcontroller programmers, blank microcontrollers, and other
> electronic hardware for raw material.
> Noisebridge used to have a great collection of microcontrollers and
> programmers and breadboards and jumper wires and advanced electronic tools,
> but all of that stuff was REPEATEDLY taken down from the top shelf and
> scattered into the e-waste piles, and then thrown away.  Yes, our
> microcontroller and programmer collection has made its way to the trash.
> categories 1 and 2 are related;  if a hackerspace has one without the other,
> hackers still may not decide to go.  Certainly I think both are equally
> important.  I also feel that at this time, and for too long, noisebridge has
> not had either.

Since reading the policy that visitors to noisebridge are required to
have a member vouch for them at all times, I no longer feel welcome at
noisebridge. I know that several others feel the same way.

I remember Jake's original suggestion related to this. The idea was
that anyone asking a visitor to leave would first have to ask if any
member is willing to vouch for the visitor to stay, and only if no-one
vouches can the non-member be asked to leave. That is reasonable.
Putting the responsibility on the visitor of having a member pre-vouch
for them at all times is both unwelcoming and unreasonable.

Now, I'm seeing one of the board members implying that the board will
no longer be passive, which I take it to mean that noisebridge is no
longer ruled by consensus.

It makes me both sad and angry that noisebridge has become a place
where hackers don't feel welcome.

If anyone wants to help build a hackerspace similar to what
noisebridge used to be, I invite you all too come join sudo room in
oakland as we prepare to move to a much bigger space (a space very
similar to noisebridge's current space!). We have open meetings every
Wednesday at 7 pm at 22nd and Broadway, located just two blocks from
19th street BART.


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