[hackerspaces] Maker community principles

hadez hadez.hso at nrrd.de
Thu Sep 26 09:28:01 CEST 2013

We (shackspace) hold a weekly plenum that is open for anyone (even
non-members) to attend.
It's the default forum for $everything.
A protocol of the plenum is distributed to all members so everyone's
at least informed.

The formal body (the association you become a member at, shack e.V.)
has a board of 3+2 and the number of formal "board meetings" is in the
single digits.
Topics discussed during such meetings are usually of a legal nature
and involving operation of the formal body (read: paperwork).
Only board members attend those but a protocol of the meeting is later
distributed to all members.

This turned out to be a pretty good split for us.

Caveat: we have a board because we have to, not because we want to. We
needed some legal structure to handle contracts (rent, utilities) and
hold the German equivalent to 501(c)(3) status.
Being on the board you sign up for boring work and responsibilities
without any benefits.
Virtually all decisions are delegated to our plenum meeting and the
board simply waves those decisions through as long as financial and
legal implications are within limits.

Since the plenum meeting happens weekly the chance to get your topics
in is high.
The agenda is frozen 24h before the meeting to let people decide
whether or not they want/need to attend.
We usually have between 8 to 15 folks attending depending on topics.
We've got 200+ members in total of which around 30 to 40 can be
considered to be "highly active" within the club (wild guessing and
gut-feeling on that last number) with a larger number showing up only
now than then.

Not sure if this would work for your setup but here's the patterns
that worked well for us over the last 3 1/2 years:
- board is only there for paperwork(tm) only
- board meetings are called on-demand and limited to members of the
board. regular members are informed by a meeting protocol
- high-frequency (weekly) public plenum meeting to discuss day to day stuff
- bonus: have a board member at the plenum meeting to have someone
there to answer any questions regarding board-stuff

Other than that we're required by law and our statutes to hold an
official and formal members meeting.
This usually happens no more often than once every year or every other
year depending on statutes etc.
Those meetings vote board members and decide stuff like changes to the statutes.
Usually _a lot_ of members show up for those and it's a really formal

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