[hackerspaces] Hackerspaces Re:Foundation (Was Re: Abuse Of Power)

Matt Joyce matt at nycresistor.com
Sat Apr 13 21:48:07 CEST 2013

Hackerspaces are getting big enough in some regions that they are already
major financial ventures.  That means they are targets.  Hackerdojo in
silly valley got hit with some major costs by their local government.  The
had the means to survive and grow from that.  Not all spaces are in the
several hundred thousand dollars a year donations range though.

Many spaces are tiny.  Helping to bootstrap them is something that
hackerspaces.org was setup to do.  In fact I am pretty sure one of the very
first things posted there was design patterns docs.

I don't think anyone should be telling anyone else what to do.  But making
available projects for communities of contributors to own as a cell
structure within the org would allow people to quickly bootstrap efforts
with little overhead.

OpenStack for instance has many projects under it ( much like the apache
foundation, or free software foundation ).

Those projects depending on their position in the hierarchy of supported
projects have access to resources.  But they also agree to some level of
adherence to uniform standards.

The way I see it, an org like hackerspaces.org could be the shield that
exists to help lone hackers or small groups of hackers reach and make
change happen.  To provide a way for people to collaborate on efforts and
share resources.  And to be a shield when necessary for everyone.

Nothing more.  Nothing less.

Anyways I gotta go finish putting together a presentation and pack for a
flight.  I don't know if anyone is on board with this.  I know it's been
tried before at least once and gone down in flames.  But hell, hackerspaces
failed before too.  Try and fail and try again is how we get shit done.


On Sat, Apr 13, 2013 at 12:36 PM, Matt Joyce <matt at nycresistor.com> wrote:

> Great input and similar opinion to my own.
> On Sat, Apr 13, 2013 at 12:32 PM, Randall G. Arnold <
> randall.arnold at texrat.net> wrote:
>> **
>>  >
>> > I'm not sure though, that incorporating a foundation would help bring
>> > attention back. I'm not sure either it wouldn't. Thought?
>> >
>> > ==
>> > hk
>>  I'm new to this list but not new to making and open source endeavors.
>>  Several years ago as a Nokia employee I helped get a once-popular open
>> source community going: http://maemo.org.  The original model was
>> clearly split between commercial (Nokia) and community interests; Nokia
>> owned the product but to its credit made as much of Maemo open sourced as
>> it could (while coveting the portions that made that opening financially
>> feasible).  Nokia maintained a mostly hands-off position on governance...
>> that was left to the community.  All Nokia asked for was clear input from
>> the community, which was often difficult to obtain in a leadership vacuum.
>>  As we grew it became obvious that we needed *some* form of organization
>> and leadership.  I think most of us on this list understand and agree that
>> the majority of any community looks for leadership but won't step up to
>> provide it.  The leaders in such cases tend to be easily-identifiable
>> though-- they are the ones constantly Doing Stuff even as names and agendas
>> and resources come and go.
>>  In the case of maemo.org, I proposed the need for a council and the de
>> facto leaders agreed.  The Doers hammered out a framework and we held
>> elections.  No surprise: the rank and file nominated the obvious leaders
>> time and time again and that's who served.  I did so three times.
>>  The only real drama to emerge in all of this was when Nokia pulled the
>> plug on Maemo (and later, MeeGo) and left a funding vacuum.  I reluctantly
>> left the community as its purpose evaporated.
>>  Sorry for rambling... I have a point somewhere and trying to get to it.
>>  In the case of Makerspaces there is no real product, which actually
>> benefits us.  There is no corporate entity, really, to which we are
>> beholden.  On the surface, though, that means  the absence of a single
>> guiding force that identifies purpose.  Some can say that in our world
>> O'Reilly is or means to be that force... but as noted, they have a
>> financial agenda of their own that may often get in the way of maker/hacker
>> goals.
>>  All this longwinded stuff said, I think we can borrow from maemo.organd similar models and allow O'Reilly to be the "Nokia" of the venture IF
>> they are willing to play the same sort of role: support, but hands-off for
>> governance.  Nokia benefited significantly by enabling the Maemo community
>> to just do our thing, in useful feedback, PR, best practice development,
>> etc.
>>  I have taken what I learned from the Maemo experience to help create a
>> local umbrella foundation for Make activity.  We're still young but so far
>> our approach seems to be working.  We are growing in a VERY conservative
>> region that seems allergic to collaborative development models.
>>  Ultimately this sort of endeavor is meritocratic and the leaders easy to
>> identify.  Again, they are Doing Stuff-- even contributing to discussion
>> here counts.   I say we support them in developing a governance solution,
>> be it a council, foundation or what have you.  No one should have to beg
>> permission IMO-- I am sure there are enough Doers in this community to Just
>> Do It.  And Matt seems like an awesome resource but if he bore the burden
>> alone IMO that's an epic community fail.
>>  Randall Arnold
>>  co-founder/director, Tarrant County Maker Community Foundation (dba Fort
>> Worth Makerspace)
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