[hackerspaces] Hackerspaces key

Rubin Abdi rubin at starset.net
Thu Feb 2 02:22:57 CET 2012

So at our general/annual meeting last night, someone (they can pop up
and say who they are if they want) asked if it would be cool for their
hackerspace to provide a key hole/lock at their entrance keyed to the
Noisebridge key. This lock would provide any key holding member of
Noisebridge access to their hacker space for the day, no questions
asked. There was some back and forth about what being a "member" of
Noisebridge means, and how validating that simply based off of holding a
key isn't possible.

People part of Noisebridge have given out literally thousands of keys to
folks that are not members of Noisebridge. The number of around 3000 was
thrown around last night, but we honestly don't know. Personally I've
made about 100 copies to hand off to new hackerspaces I visit through
my travels. I'm sure there are many of you reading this now that have a
Noisebridge key somewhere near by, and might have not even set foot
inside of the space.

The key symbolizes this notion of shared space, and acceptance by a peer
that you can be a part of that space without playing any sort of
membership/sucking up game. You hack? You fighting the good fight? You
haven't killed yourself yet? Here, have a key, feel welcomed in our
space you can also consider your own, feel free to give copies of the
key to other excellent hackers.

There was a moment once, a few years back where I found myself in
another hackerspace. Bantering discussion for the night between the
folks hanging out there eventually came to two very interesting
questions, which made us all realized that more people in the space had
key access to Noisebridge than the space we were currently sitting in.
I'm sure this happens often!

Reading a bunch of cyberpunk scifi stories when I was younger, I always
envisioned some future where you would be part of a smaller group of
interesting people, whom had a secret handshake or symbol or some such,
that when traveling around would provide them a way to show their level
of interestingness to others, allow them to be accepted in those groups.
I see that in the hacker emblem from time to time and the
Weatherunderground-like logo the CCC sported for a few years with the
keyboard and star.

Maybe the Noisebridge key hit that point well before the hacker
passports ever materialized? When I've offered ta copy of the key to
people and then there's this realization that they already have it and
still haven't been, there's an understanding that someone else along the
way thought that person belonged to whatever this symbol means, and my
level of comfort with them goes up immediately. More so when the fact
that they already have a key comes out without me asking.

Either way, if anyone feels like adopting the Noisebridge key cut for
generalized reciprocal access to their home hackerspace, by all means...


rubin at starset.net

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