[hackerspaces] Members and membership

Tim Miller timmillertech at gmail.com
Thu May 31 19:51:43 CEST 2012

I have noticed this local but this is not just an issue with new members it
also includes people who have been with the hackerspace from the start but
are just not as active.

When they want to do something or change something they always look at the
people who are their most to say it is alright or to take charge and make
it happen so lots of awesome things just never happen. This is everything
from moving tables around, organizing meet ups and events
or acquiring tools.

I think a large part of this is how we are trained to work and act in an
organization. Something we have been told is how reasonable productive
people act.

The Valve new employee handbook tries to address these problems but I am
guessing the type of person recruited into Valve is likely to work
naturally in this fashion.

Who moved my cheese? is another thing that may prevent people from moving
stuff around or doing what they need or want to do. People get used to
things being the way they are and staying that way, change is upsetting.
 To say that X person said it was okay to move/do stuff to avoid conflict
and defer blame is easier or they just don't do anything.

On Thu, May 31, 2012 at 1:47 PM, B F <bakmthiscl at gmail.com> wrote:

> Not knowing how your organization is structured, I don't know what
> needs to be fixed.
> However, in many organizations, little effort is made to include
> newcomers, and this is a shame because newcomers are often more highly
> motivated than anyone else.  I wrote the bylaws for an organization
> that is about 15 years old and going strong.  Rather than organize it
> like your typical club -- president, 1st VP, 2nd VP, Treasurer,
> Corresponding Secretary, Recording Secretary, Ways & Means Chairman,
> Program Chairman, Hospitality Chairman, ad nauseum - this group has a
> board, period.  All board members share all responsibilities.  Without
> office holders or chairmen, there's nobody to block progress -- which
> is what unpaid officers do, more times than not.  The board can elect
> new members to the board at any time.  The effect is to bring in the
> most active people right away and give them the rope to hang
> themselves (but not necessarily the money).  There's no limit to the
> size of the board (and a quorum is 1/3 of the board or 5 minimum), but
> the preponderance of the membership has no interest in being on the
> board.  This structure is very successful, and our organization has
> many times more activities than any other comparable group,
> nationwide.
> Obviously, this would not translate directly to a makerspace, but it
> should be food for thought.
> BTW, the secret to getting volunteers is -- to ask them!
> On Thu, May 31, 2012 at 11:23 AM, Nathaniel Bezanson
> <myself at telcodata.us> wrote:
> > I've noticed a thing which probably affects all member-driven
> > organizations at some point: New members act like "customers", they don't
> > see themselves as owners/directors/stakeholders.
> >
> > Three months after we formed, a new member would say something like "Are
> > we gonna get involved in that event I just heard about?"
> >
> > Today, a new member would say something like "Are you gonna get involved
> > in..." or "Is i3detroit gonna get involved in..."
> >
> > Part of this is self-evident. There's less organizational building and
> > shaping going on, so newbies are less apt to see themselves as builders
> > and shapers. But this also means they hesitate before diving into things,
> > in ways that seem to hinder their use of the space and resources.
> >
> > How can we fix that? I'd like to tear down some perceived walls, make it
> > obvious that new members are just as valued as the old founding farts, et
> > cetera. Open to any and all ideas.
> >
> > -Nate-
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Discuss mailing list
> > Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
> > http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
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