[Noisebridge-discuss] catching up with "what's wrong with discussing things at the Tuesday meeting"

Naomi Most pnaomi at gmail.com
Wed Mar 26 21:56:27 UTC 2014

Rachel asked:

> Is there some problem with using it as a venue for coming together to build
> comradery, discuss our issues, and try to consent to each other's ideas?

Yeah, there's a bit of a problem... *sigh*

(TL;DR -- Drama, retrofitted into a consensus policy process, easily
breaks the meetings!  But I believe the board is working on a good
solution, and it involves the Community Working Group.)

What you've enumerated are all good ways-of-being rooted in real
experiences.  But the latest version of "the Noisebridge experience"
turns these old ways into obsolete technology.

Here's the reality:

Because so many social issues have been, by convention, pushed to
consensus discussion -- the group has to pick and choose which issues
it wants to work on.  That means that there's no guarantee that an
issue you care about comes up for consensus at the meeting you made
time in your schedule.

Further complicating things: we have a convention about an issue being
"up for discussion" for a week, with the following week being the
first time an issue CAN be consensed upon.

There's no guarantee of either of the above things ("up for
discussion" or "up for consensus") occurring on any given week or even
in succession.  Why?  Because SO DAMN MANY issues at noisebridge have
been pushed to the general meeting, that the moderator generally has
to take a "straw poll of interest" just to whittle the number of
consensus items down to a reasonable number that we can discuss (say,
4 -- and I think that's too many!).

So, the affected / interested parties on an issue have no way to plan
around their involvement in a thing, other than to come back to the
meeting Every Single Week.

Personally speaking, I will *DIE* if I go to a Noisebridge meeting
every night.  I mean I will mentally break down and probably start
crying uncontrollably.  Not because NB is such a bad place.  But
because I am a single mom (for those of you just tuning in) and I only
have 3 nights a week of free time to work with to destress from my two
jobs (the kid and the job).

Systemically speaking, this "structure" has had devastating
consequences.  For example, social issues that really should have been
solved in other ways (which don't exist at Noisebridge -- yet!) have
been able to wash out more practical and mundane proposals.

Sometimes social issues push aside other social issues, which -- when
you put it to a straw poll -- results in a classist and racist
prioritization of issues.

Please see the whole "Lee Sonko" saga (documented in the mailing list)
for how this process can go Very Wrong.

And I think the unsung subplot-problem in the Lee Sonko case was that
there were several very pressing social issues that didn't come up for
discussion, involving what turned out to be very problematic
individuals, despite an advocate's dutifully putting the issue up for
straw-poll-to-discuss for many weeks, BECAUSE it was (apparently) so
urgent that we ban Lee Sonko.

Final note:  I'm not sure "every week at the same time and place"
qualifies as "maximum accommodation" -- the case of Lee Sonko
providing a stark example to the contrary.

I know that discussion is what the weekly NB meeting was designed for.
 But the engineers didn't plan to have to scale.


On Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 2:30 PM, rachel lyra hospodar
<rachelyra at gmail.com> wrote:
> I encourage everyone to get together in person whenever they like, as often
> as possible.
> We have this regular Tuesday meeting. It serves many functions. One of which
> is this in-person thing which I think is a great idea. Its recurring weekly
> nature is designed for maximum accommodation of varying scheduling needs of
> peoples lives.
> Is there some problem with using it as a venue for coming together to build
> comradery, discuss our issues, and try to consent to each other's ideas?
> That's what it was designed for.
> R.

Naomi Theora Most
naomi at nthmost.com

skype: nthmost


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