[hackerspaces] RANT!: SO VERY frustrated with lack of local activity :( Warning: some negative energy present - sorry

Eric Stein toba at des.truct.org
Sat Nov 26 00:51:47 CET 2011

I agree. The best way to solve this problem is to accept help on your priojects willingly, help anyone who asks, and last but not least keep hacking yourself! If you fall the the same inaction you protest against, you lose the hacking high ground :)


----- Original message -----
> I skipped the last few paragraphs, apologies, but I think I have some
> advice for ya.
> At HeatSync we have seen similar issues. Lots of talk, very little
> action. Creative people have new ideas every second and only a small
> percent of these ideas are worthy of putting muscle behind. But if
> wishes were horses, we'd all be cowboys. This isn't a problem per se;
> creativity is great. But execution is 1% inspiration and 99%
> perspiration, right? Getting real work done is the core purpose of a
> creative space. Have those inspiring conversations at a coffee shop, and
> come to the space to do the actual work of creating.
> This is actually a main goal of our board this year; refocusing on
> creating stuff instead of sitting around talking or surfing the web.
> We're not in a dire situation like you, but it's still (and probably
> always will be) a problem.
> Here's what we did: first, show up and work on stuff. Bring your projects
> and do them yourself. Invite people to help, or to work on their own
> stuff, but don't get distracted by conversation or brainstorming or
> "collaboration" -- you're at a workshop, get the work done, have
> discussions elsewhere even if it means outside the front door.
> But the most important rule is show up, on a regular publicized basis,
> and really work on stuff. You hardly need marketing if you do this; if
> you don't do it, all the marketing in the world won't save you. If you
> can only make it once a month, or once a week, fine! But make sure those
> dates are scheduled regularly, and that you show up, and that you work
> on stuff.
> Don't have discussions about what you should or shouldn't be making.
> Don't interrupt others and tell them to get working instead of talking.
> Be positive, say nothing within the walls of the space if you have to,
> and work. Two things you're allowed to say are "hey would you like to
> help me with <specific, simple task>?" and "hi! What are you working on?
> ...cool, can I help? Is there something we can do right now?" --
> remember, discussion is not work. It's useful, but you don't need a
> hackerspace to discuss things.
> Doing this is a form of leading by example and has helped the space
> immensely (or at least helped us core members stay sane) -- even when we
> should be writing emails or talking to people, we've tried to work on our
> own projects instead. Putting on headphones if needed. This gets momentum
> going. Doing something positive besides bitch about the lack of momentum
> is also a great way of keeping a necessary positive vibe around the
> place.
> Finally, chances are your space has lots of tables and chairs. I'm toying
> with the idea of eliminating these at the lab, making them stand-up desks
> which are healthier anyway and it's hard to be lazy when you're standing
> up at a workbench. They're normally one-sided, too, so your friends
> aren't staring you in the face trying to show you a funny video. Just an
> idea which I'm sure would go over like a lead balloon even in our space
> but might be relevant. We have plenty of chairs though and whenever we
> break them out the whole place becomes a classroom or coffee shop and
> the vibe changes for the worse. A hackerspace vibe really centers around
> a workbench, I think.
> These are just my musings and I look forward to hearing other (positive
> attitude!) suggestions.
> On Nov 25, 2011 3:12 PM, "Frustrated fo sho ???"
> <frustratedfosho at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I take part on this list some with another name - but -
> > Posting this anonymously as much as I can or care to... didn't proxy so
> > please don't IP me if that's avail through the registration.
> > I even made a separate email account to bring this up and seek advice
> > so that it's not too apparent where I am from.   I am in a relatively
> > small but major city in the united states o'merica.
> > Perhaps more than advice - I just need to vent/discuss/and hear others
> > stories of success out of dwindling interest or just similar
> > frustrations.
> > 
> > Here's the bit - I found out about hackerspaces 2 years ago now from an
> > old friend that looked me up just to tell me about the concept and the
> > local one that he had just discovered - he never joined - saw the
> > writing on the wall but me... I'm hopeful, or was at least for a while.
> > 
> > SO excited!   WOW!   For soooo long I had needed something like this to
> > collaborate - relate - and incubate.
> > 
> > I showed up with bells on - was waiting for the next meeting like it
> > was Xmas morning for a 10 year old.
> > Saw someone there even from 2600 back in the day (90's) - he had just
> > heard about it too!
> > 
> > It was neat... lots of fun!     Everyone was friendly and seemingly
> > interested in what I do and my crazy mad science stuff... in this area
> > that is really a treat!
> > I brought in a robot I was working on - old science equipment w nixie
> > displays - some professional VR equipment - even a baby food sized jar
> > 1/4 full of pure cesium that I offered to have a cesium explosion
> > party and film with my ultra slow mo camera!   that's about half a
> > grand$$$ of cesium :/ minimum!
> > Make a long story short... I became more and more frustrated and
> > disappointed with all of the talking, meetings, and further dragging
> > bootay and never really doing anything of much.
> > Over and over I've had hopes of new ideas and projects that are
> > discussed, sometimes met upon, but never (or usually never) executed. 
> >   It really seems like 95% of everything was about having meetings -
> > kinda like playing hackerspace make believe... might as well get out
> > the stuffed animals and put meters and irons in their paws.
> > 
> > Over time the group has dwindled - membership has dropped from the
> > incubation period - and many people have come to visit/check out but
> > quickly leave (and I suspect snickering) and never shown up again!
> > YUG!       I may actually be the last member that joined and is still
> > around!- As in noone has joined since I had! well that I know of.
> > In fact - I'm not sure there are any members other than myself that
> > were not in the original gang to put it together!
> > 
> > 
> > So with any group there is going to be some people more
> > interested/able/have time/active than others...   but I can't
> > personally / don't personally have any interest of herding cats that
> > don't have the time/delusion/etc.   Don't get me wrong... good people
> > here and some have been active a little(as much as they could) but all
> > but one are gone/moved and the one left seems to think it's all a joke
> > now or seems uninterested too.
> > I think I became a bit unpopular for a while with some when I started
> > to voice my "poop or get off the pot" attitude after a year or so of
> > frustration.
> > When I get to the point that I want to say something... let's just say
> > I believe in open source honesty - I don't believe in beating around
> > the bush too     much... and admittedly can sometimes be a bit harsh to
> > make sure I'm heard when I'm not.   I know when to give up.. but maybe
> > hold on a tiny bit longer than I should.
> > 
> > 
> > SO many people have shown interest in the past but if they showed up
> > they never showed up agian-
> > I've spent ALOT of time in this 'space the last 2 months - and NOT ONCE
> > HAS ANOTHER SOUL SHOWED UP!   I'm talking some 12-14 hour days here. 
> > And I'm also talking 5 days a week!
> > I've meet multiple people around town that have said they've "heard of
> > X hackerspace in town" with a kind of a snickering tone.
> > People have shown up from out of town even (from other hackerspaces)
> > when there should be a regularly scheduled meeting that is publicized
> > - and I feel bad that they wasted their time while in town because
> > there is noone around!   I'm the one that finds the note on the door -
> > they end up talking to the owner of the building and I'm sure he says
> > "oh they're never there... I don't know why they're wasting their
> > time." I send a message out to others in the group that we missed a
> > fellow hackspace person and noone seems to care.
> > I mean this is an awesome fun crazy city to visit... I can't imagine
> > how disappointed I'd be if I made time while here to visit and noone
> > was around when their website says they would be.   I mean... regular
> > scheduled meeting and NOONE is there!?!?!?!   I'd be pretty pissed if I
> > knew that they just slack hardcore and inconsiderately fail to update
> > their website - HOW RUDE!
> > 
> > I once read Bre's (makerbot) tweets (or something... forgot where the
> > comment was) that he was hoping to visit our group while in town but
> > was sick and couldn't - Honestly I was thankful for him.
> > 
> > I've tried to come up with projects or organize stuff... even got some
> > excitement and interest - but again - once it's time to do anything -
> > NOTHING happens!
> > What should I do?   Start my own group?
> > I've thought about it -
> > I've registered a site and all...
> > I have a few people that I do stuff with in town...   I don't want to
> > hurt any feelings - especially after getting so frustrated and kinda
> > bitchy (that was a year or so ago)
> > and don't want any bad blood situations.
> > 
> > I don't know - I don't know...
> > It seems that this HS is a case of organizing a group for the sake of
> > organizing a group.
> > I think that organizing out of necessity or some other benefit of
> > taking that step.
> > I feel like this is more of "hey guys - look !   Hackerspaces!   What a
> > nifty idea!   I want to have one around so that I'll actually be
> > inspired to do something!   Let's make one so that we'll do something!"
> > - but that comes from a group of people who all lack the motivation to
> > do anything on their own.
> > 
> > One of the great things about a hackerspace SEEMS to be mutual
> > inspiration - it can be very motivating to work on projects together!
> > But what if you have a dozen people that want to do nifty neat-o things
> > but have little individual motivation -
> > This is pretty much just a sociological experiment to prove that
> > organizing a bunch of people together with little motivation proves to
> > not synergize group motivation.   :(
> > I just feel that it's a shame and it kind of hogs the place for a
> > hackerspace in my locale - in fact I think it makes the entire concept
> > of hackerspaces a joke in this area.
> > Yeah, I know - harsh... but seriously true from people I've met and
> > didn't know I had anything to do with ours.
> > 
> > I actually pay dues again in hopes.
> > There's one harbor freight 3$ meter here... a HF soldering iron with a
> > messed up tip (they only last a day or so)... some jelly bean macs...
> > and everyones garbage that they don't want to throw out but donate it
> > to here so that it doesn't clutter their own house.
> > 
> > I now rent a studio next door (10 months now) and have an open door
> > policy to my equipment and resources.
> > Thousands and tens of thousands of components - makerbot and repraps -
> > large format printers(24") and plotter cutters(4 footer and 2 footer) -
> > laptops galore - thousands of vintage vacuum tubes - every cable known
> > to man (I personally love old 100pin cannon connectors) - tons of
> > motors/servos/steppers from toy size to industrial 20 pounder servos
> > left over from NASA - lots of aluminum stock/polycarb/acrylic/hardware
> > - alpha/beta/gamma sources :) - 1st half of a CNC setup built - tons of
> > professional design and graphics stuff (I owned a sign shop in the
> > 90's) - an Xray machine from the 50's (actually everything from an old
> > dental office) - robots and lasers (of course!) - lot's of scientific
> > equipment - every tool known to man - 100's of different IC's (some
> > hundreds of each - hell I have 10,000 7805's!!!) -   etc etc etc... I
> > could go on and on - I have wide nerd-dom interests and have been
> > around for almost 40 years.. .point is... resources are not an
> > interest issue - and I make it all available for free... but only got
> > a taker once for some 3mm old school green leds.   :(
> > 
> > Again... Bitching and moaning here... and looking for advice and/or
> > discussion to anyone interested in a positive and productive way (even
> > if I sound pretty frustrated and giving off negative energy)
> > I've visited other hackerspaces in the USA and wow... how I wish we had
> > something like that here :(
> > 
> > sincerely....
> > anonymously supa dupa frustrated
> > 
> > _______________________________________________
> > Discuss mailing list
> > Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
> > http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
> > 
> > 

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