[hackerspaces] Inter-Hackerspace Cooperation and Membership

quemener.yves at free.fr quemener.yves at free.fr
Mon Jan 11 16:12:57 CET 2010

----- "Koen Martens" <gmc at sonologic.nl> a écrit :

> On Fri, Jan 08, 2010 at 04:32:10PM +0100, quemener.yves at free.fr
> wrote:
>> I understand that and it will probably work at the beginning but it
>> would work about the same without this structure existing, as as you
>> tell these hackerspaces more or less know each others.
>> But fast-forward in 5 years. Some guy at hackerspace A decided that
>> real life was getting in the way so he gave the reign to another guy,
>> another hackerspace slowly changed to focus primarily on political
>> activism and keeps bugging others to join a militant movement of some
>> sort and another hackerspace appeared that embarrass a lot of people
>> because they surely have enthusiasm, a place and are very nice, but
>> they aren't doing anything at all. The interest of making a structure
>> that could last in the long term is to make one that could resist such
>> conditions (which I exaggerate but not beyond plausibility)
> A valid observation, and I see i haven't been careful enough in
> wording
> that paragraph. The idea was that the _participating_ hackerspaces
> would
> need to agree, not just _any_ hackerspace. That would perhaps address
> your concern, at least partly. 

Hmmm, no, I am proposing that if you accept an hackerspace for participation at a date t, it may have changed a lot at t+5 years to the point where you would not have accepted it if it were applying at t+5 years. Don't get me wrong, I would love to see some sort of higher level structure emerge and think it is possible but that it requires a bit paranoïa for getting right.

> In addition, perhaps participation should
> be up for scrutiny whenever there is a change in the governing body.

That would be a safeguard, indeed.

> This would work with spaces that have a board, but not with purely
> membership governed spaces where basically each new or leaving member
> constitutes a change in the governing body....

For these, maybe a yearly re-examination of the participation ?

> > I think that a sort of federation that manages money is doomed into
> > attracting people with a taste for politics. I think that a way in
> > which the Hxx foundation would not be managing anything else than
> > information and trust networks has far more chances of staying out of
> > dissensions. Couldn't there be some sort of exchange program that
> > tracks how much visitors have been greeted, or a sort of
> > recommendation/reputation system where one person could say "this is a
> > valuable member of our lab" ? 
> I'm a bit hesistant with basing spending of the money on number of
> visitors/members or stuff like that (which I think you are proposing
> here). 

Hmmm, I really have to be careful about how I phrase things I think. No, what I am suggesting is that this Hxx foundation doesn't manage any money : it receives none, it distributes none. It just maintains a (maybe non-public) list of official members of various hackerspaces and whether or not they paid their contribution this year. This allows all participating hackerspaces to check whether a visitor is only a guest or if he has the attributes of a member (I don't know a lot of hackerspaces that make the difference but this is a theoretical discussion). To become a member, one just pays what it takes to be a member of the one he goes more often to.

> I also don't think the money will be just given away to the
> participating hackerspaces (although in the proposal, if all
> hackerspaces decide to do this, that's ok). I think of it more as a
> fund for common resources. Maybe collective insurance for example, or bulk
> buying of components or tools to get discounts.

Why not having a per-project approach ? I mean some projects interest some hackerspaces more than others. The more security-inclined hackerspace will see less interest in sharing the cost of a milling machine in a fab lab than sharing costs to have a group discount to a security conference (that mechanical fab geeks will be less interested in). Why risk having endless debates about the utility of a project that interest only half of the members when one could have a more flexible approach ?

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