[hackerspaces] Need suggestions regarding some issues

webmind webmind at puscii.nl
Wed Jan 1 15:37:25 CET 2014

On 01/01/14 15:16, Avinash Sonawane wrote:
> Hello everyone!
> We are "Hacker's Den", a budding hackerspace at Pune, India. We 
> started 4 months back. Currently we are doing fine but we are
> facing some issues (mainly administrative issues). I am here
> looking for some suggestions from the community like how you deal
> with these situations.
> 1) Do you fund members' projects from your hackerspace's account ?
> Or the money in hackerspace's account is utilized only for funding 
> hackerspace's projects (like doorbot, hosting charges for official 
> website), for buying tools and for arranging events ?

At Technologia Incognita (Amsterdam), the membershipfees only pay the
rent + electricity + cleaning materials.  Roughly. All projects &
tools are paid by individuals or groups of individuals.

> 2) How do you decide to buy a new tool for your hackerspace ? Do
> you use voting or it's absolutely necessary that each and every
> member should say yes for that particular tool since the expenses
> will be paid from the group's account ?

Technologia Incognita has a 'pledge' system, works as follows:
1) person thinks it's good to have tool X
2) person sets up a wiki page with a description of tool X, why she
thinks it's needed and how much it costs
3) other people pledge to contribute to paying for tool X
4) redo 3 until required cost is reached
5) person who said up the pledge collects money and buys tool X, or
buys tool X and collects money
6) space now contains tool X.

> 3) We have a group of members who built a quadrocopter and then
> they donated it to our hackerspace to be used for whatever purpose
> the group thinks the best. So what do you do with the donated
> hardware projects ? Do you give it to other member(s) who want to
> hack on it (and might burn it to ashes in doing so ;) ) on first
> come first serve basis or do you try to retain that project (as
> it'll continue to inspire new members/projects) by asking the
> interested members to built their own replica ?

Technologia Incognita has no clear policy on donated stuff, but
generally it's used for activities for, in or by the space.

> 4) Dues Policy a) What's your dues policy ? Let's say a member
> broke some group's tool then is it his/her responsibility to repair
> the same or whole group bears the expenses ?

I'd say common-sense, you break it, you fix it. Then again,
common-sense is not always common :)

> b) If member has to pay for what (s)he has broken then is it 
> compulsory to pay the full expenses or (s)he can get away with it
> by paying just a part of it ? In later case additional punishment
> can be imposed like restricting the access to the space for few
> days so that financially weaker hackers wont have to say bye bye to
> the space if they don't have the full amount.

I'd say this in general is up to the parties involved and only becomes
a problem to the community of a space when it escalates.

> c) If member has to pay for what (s)he has broken but (s)he simply 
> refuses to pay and walks away then what do you do ? How do you
> ensure to get the dues from members ? Is there some legal
> arrangement or something?

Technologia Incognita does not have any specific arrangements on this
topic outside of what the dutch law provides.

I'd think you want to look at these things on a case by case basis.

> 5) Borrowing a) If a group of members are in great need of a
> particular tool and a member X has that particular tool but (s)he
> don't want to donate it to the space rather (s)he is willing to
> lend it. Then whom (s)he lends the tool? To the space (The org) or
> to a particular person whom (s)he didn't even know and was willing
> to lend just because those group of people were the members of the
> same organization (s)he was ?

at Technologia Incognita borrowing stuff that is not of the space is
generally considered a personal arrangement. I think most people ask
before borrowing unless it's labelled as 'you can use this, but don't
break/hack it' or something.

> Please pardon me for so much of text. Looking for your valuable
> suggestions. Thank you!

pleasure answering, do note that I speak only of my own observations
on how I believe things are working at Technologia Incognita and are
not formal statements by the organisation (e.a. other members might
have a different interpretation).

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