[hackerspaces] Abuse Of Power

Mark Janssen dreamingforward at gmail.com
Sun Apr 14 02:56:02 CEST 2013

On Sat, Apr 13, 2013 at 5:44 PM, Matt Joyce <matt at nycresistor.com> wrote:
>> *** The "benevolent dictator" model has served the community pretty
>> well so far, especially as benevolent dictators have kept their tasks
>> to a minimum of involvement with community decisions.
>  I would argue two points here.
> 1.  The is inherit risk in the benevolent dictator model.  These cannot be
> addressed or minimized.  And they prevent active contribution and growth
> daily simply by existing.  And the benevolent dictator model is definitively
> non-sustainable.

Your argument does not pass the experiences in the open source
community.  It would perhaps be true were such "dictactors" were being
paid in some way.  In physical spaces there is more danger to such
"dictators", but the right use of the Internet as an empowerment tool
has the ability to mitigate all of those dangers.

> 2.  What is hackerspace.org but a shared resource?  It is a shared map,
> wiki, and mailing list today.  But at it's heart it is a shared resource of
> the hackerspaces communities of the world.  I would argue that as a shared
> resource it is not a very good one.  In fact, I'd be willing to say that
> aside from the map, there's not much use or by in on any other shared
> resource hosted by hackerspaces.org.

It is a token, a placeholder, in a vast, but nascent, enterprise of
creating a creative economy.

>> I think the question raised is not whether or not we should create a
>> foundation, or if there's an abuse of power, etc., but what happened
>> that stalled in the community, and how to fix that.
> I disagree here.  You want to make this about reactive engineering.  You
> want to isolate an existing issue and squash it.  What I am suggesting is
> that we take a pro-active engineering approach and look at what the project
> goals are, define them, and see if we cannot achieve them better.
> When you start reacting to issues instead of engineering toward a goal you
> end up mired in technical and bureaucratic debt.  You end up making bad
> decisions.  You end up tripping over yourself.  This is a piss poor design
> pattern.

You argument is valid in other contexts, but not so much in the one of
hackerspaces as I envision them.  The hacker community that I know
have always been about refuge and sanctuary, away from industrial
paradigm that often violently negates the spirit of everything but
profit generation.  It is diseased and hackerspaces have been popular
as they don't show the symptoms of it.

> You keep expanding the scope.  It's not relevant.  It has no place here.
> Hackerspaces are small communities.  Fostering greater collaboration sure.
> Trying to push people into a specific agenda... NOPE.

Clearly its relevant because we have a community member expressing it,
so it's important to at least two community members.  --Unless you're
the benevolent dictator who's deciding what is relavent to the
hackerspace ethos, but then you just said that that wasn't good
engineering, so..... ???

Tacoma, Washington

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