[hackerspaces] Do-ocracy at 140 members?

Rubin Abdi rubin at starset.net
Thu Jul 12 20:06:19 CEST 2012

Hash: SHA1

PS1's definition for Do-ocracy differs a bit from Noisebridge, or at
least from the last time I visited your space.

First off our members don't really get any special extra powers to
tell someone "No you can't do that" aside from within our consensus
processes (which takes a week to go through). So by asking if doing
something is ok to do do-ocratically, it would be more like asking the
whole community, and I would estimate about 500-2000 unique non-member
come through our doors each month, with about 100-300 of those
spending time there enough that an outsider would consider them
someone "in the know", or a "member".

Generally we tell people to just fucking do it after asking folks
around if it's ok. If it's a big change, poke our mailing list first.
This is hard to manage, as I pointed out there are a lot of people
that participate in our space, so generally we ask for a best effort
into seeing if anyone would become grumpy by it. There's also the fact
that some people by default are grumpy about all change (myself
included), so it really comes down to the question of who's actually
going to be butt hurt enough about this change to do someone about it
after it's been done?

I typically give the advice of also attaching your email address along
with the change, because what's more important than getting an OK from
those around you to make a change is the ability to have those
communicate feedback about it, and to welcome requests to change it back.

James over at Bucketworks described to me a long while ago this
physical wiki version control system, where they have web cams/laptops
on rolly tripods. The cams can be rolled over to an area you're
working at, a button pressed to start recording the changes, then get
to work with your change. In the end you should have some sort of
documentation on what's changed and how, and most importantly
backwards instructions on how to revert.

After describing this to some folks at Noisebridge, Danny and others
of us have started using this wiki page to use as a change log for the
over all space...


Now as always, here at Noisebridge we're very much no saints.
Do-ocracy has had some pretty epic failures, and prompted much heated
discussion. Members have left the space, blood gets shed,
relationships crumble, we get invaded by a horde of rats and fruit
flies, our classroom named after Alonzo Church gets turned into a
church, etc. It's not a perfect thing, but when it does work, man is
it awesome. Totally not going into a tangent here on how lovely
anarchistic tendencies are within a hack space.

If you're still confused about how all this works at Noisebridge,
here's a write up I did a while ago (and others have contributed to)
about the three major use cases, eventual outcomes and examples of
Do-ocracy we see at our space...


Note: No hacker space is required to operate like Noisebridge, nor in
fact should they ever.

- -- 
rubin at starset.net
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