[hackerspaces] Productive conversations (was: Unified Open Source / Open Development dashboard for projects)

Will Bradley will at heatsynclabs.org
Mon Oct 10 22:24:59 CEST 2011

We're currently trying the opposite, bylaws changes being vested in the
board and everything else being up to a member vote. Lack of participation
in democracy is a recurring theme, it seems, yet everyone is willing to
offer their favorite flavor of bikeshed in person, gossip style, ad nauseum.
It may be that bikeshedding killed our current listserv and we need to
create a separate announce list to get people active again. Hackers are very
prone to criticizing and it can really kill enthusiasm. Forcing discussion
to happen in person for a set time may help with this, as email is

On Oct 10, 2011 9:21 AM, "Tim Saylor" <tim.saylor at gmail.com> wrote:
> It's kind of an accepted thing that happens at our space.  When we
> have a proposal to put to the membership for a vote that might spark
> some kind of discussion we build in an extra week for everyone to
> offer their favorite color of bikeshed.  However, these discussions
> aren't always entirely trivial, they can sometimes influence and
> improve the proposal.
> The solution I've proposed at our space a couple times is to give all
> decision making power short of bylaws changes to the board of
> directors like a lot of organizations do.  They can make a decision
> much more effectively than the full membership.  I feel like the
> members either trust these people to be smart and act in the best
> interest of the space, or they shouldn't have elected them.
> On Mon, Oct 10, 2011 at 10:38 AM, Nathaniel Bezanson
> <myself at telcodata.us> wrote:
> > This is a process known as bikeshedding, or painting the bikeshed:
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkinson%27s_Law_of_Triviality
> >
> > Simply being aware of the phenomenon, and raising it (like Godwin's law
> > when an argument becomes silly, or The Complicator's Gloves) at the
> > appropriate time, can bring conversation back on track and lead people
> > focus again.
> >
> > I'm forking the subject line here, because I think this is an
> > topic I've been meaning to ask on this list for a while: How do you keep
> > etiquette on your hackerspace's mailing-list or forum? How do people
> > manage to be productive, when there's so much temptation to discuss
> > trivialties ad nauseam?
> >
> > I feel that in part, it's been an especially big problem at i3detroit
> > because so many of our members are do-it-yourselfers but not computer
> > experts, and not netiquette-savvy, and turning a single shouting noob
> > a considerate community member takes a whole lot of time and patience
> > an ever-larger group.
> >
> > Thoughts?
> >
> > -Nathaniel-
> >
> >> "What if open source projects would have possibility to use unified
> >> dashboard instead of creating one for every project?"
> >>
> >> In my opinion the answer to that question is "Then they would fork the
> >> code a thousand times to make similar but slightly incompatible
> >> versions of that dashboard for reasons that are ultimately trivial but
> >> that the developers think are very important to their projects."
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Discuss mailing list
> > Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
> > http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
> >
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