[hackerspaces] In defense of Noisebridge (even if I was never there!)

Petr Baudis pasky at ucw.cz
Thu Jul 3 12:17:27 CEST 2014


On Wed, Jul 02, 2014 at 06:25:30PM -0700, Naomi Most wrote:
> The "meta point" being that no one should model a hackerspace on Noisebridge?

  I feel kind of sorry about all the Noisebridge bashing.  And that's
because I consider Noisebridge (at least in one of its past forms) to be
a great model for a hackerspace.

  Just perhaps not a US hackerspace, but a European hackerspace.

  brmlab (hackerspace Prague) just celebrated its 5th anniversary. We
have ~140m2 floor space, recently expanded to some adjecent rooms in the
building, have about 60 official members, and I'd say about 20-30 people
show up regularly and hack on various projects. We are relatively small,
but everything is smaller in Europe ;-) and Prague is not a too big city
while offering many alternative outlets for electronics/software/art

  When founding brmlab and figuring things out, we were thinking about
following either "the Noisebridge model" or "the NYC Resistor model",
and we instantly preferred the west coast way, opening up our community
as much as possible, adopting an open door policy, and we sticked with
that approach throughout.

  And I think it's working pretty well for us.  Sure, we have our
problems.  I wish the influx of newcomers was bigger, the enthusiasm
from the first 1.5y waned out, many founders left (gradually; many of us
are still around), we had theft problems and overenthusiastic policy
hackers, and a few individuals poisonous for the community.  But we had
no major fights or community splits or homeless people sleeping in or
rogue actors on the board and general space degradations. (Yet.)

  I think many of the reasons why it's working for us are cultural.
In Europe, social nets are much stronger, people are generally meeker,
I just can't imagine many of the incidents from Noisebridge happenning
here (even though we aren't in a nice corner of Prague).  If I lived in
the US, maybe I'd rather join/found a NYC Resistor like space.  But for
our sake, I'm really glad the Noisebridge founders made a different
choice. :-)

				Petr "Pasky" Baudis
	Life is short, the craft long, opportunity fleeting, experiment
	treacherous, judgment difficult.  -- Hippocrates

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