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

Colin Keigher general at keyboardcowboy.ca
Thu Jul 3 20:21:15 CEST 2014

Joe put it better than I can in terms of how things are with VHS now.

On 03/07/2014 11:11, Joe Bowser wrote:
> On Thu, Jul 3, 2014 at 10:45 AM, Colin Keigher
> <general at keyboardcowboy.ca> wrote:
>> No. My response should be misconstrued as this.
>> Political affiliations should have no bearing on your being involved in a
>> space--I am "centre-left" by Canadian standards (and probably "pinko-commie"
>> by American) just to inform you. What should be a qualifier to your
>> involvement in a space is laying out your intentions on why you want to be a
>> member. If you're there to create and do cool shit, then you should be in;
>> if you're there to further your personal, political agenda, you shouldn't.
>> As long as you're not spreading hate and making others uncomfortable,
>> politics should never play a role.
> Agreed.
>> VHS was asked by an IndyMedia clone to allow them to make use of the space
>> to work on their productions. We collectively said "no" and the issue never
>> came up again.
> It was actually Vancouver Media Coop, and we didn't want them using
> our space because we felt that they were too far outside our mandate,
> and the person asking was actually refused a membership for personal
> reasons.  There's nothing wrong with being political.  There is
> something wrong with stealing the angle grinder so you can liberate a
> locked bicycle, or coming in and claiming that you're going to hack
> the skytrain.  Having been the member followed around by the RCMP, I
> think we practiced more common sense and security culture and dealt
> with the downsides of calling ourselves a hackerspace, which is the
> police/activists/random asshole seeing how they can screw with you
> during a world megaevent.  I'm sure if we called ourselves a
> Makerspace, we would have probably not attracted that, but it would
> have also been way less fun.
>> We had to keep a neutral stance during the Olympics while
>> many of our members were being followed by the RCMP and Vancouver Police due
>> to their affiliation with anti-games groups. Keeping VHS politics-free has
>> been policy since its inception six years ago and so far it has had success.
>> We don't try to do anything more than provide a space to do and make cool
>> shit.
> The problem with Vancouver Hack Space was whether growth is good or
> not.  At the start, it was very much like Noisebridge and more of the
> non-maker,security oriented hacking did happen there.  Over time,
> things change, and VHS went from a small group of guys who drank and
> played with hardware to a larger space that caters to "Maker(TM)"
> Culture, but couldn't have any security stuff happen because people
> demand to know what project you're working on, and shun anything
> remotely on the margins such as lockpicking (eg: 30 post thread about
> whether lockpicks are legal in Canada).  IMO, I think the space will
> die because the culture shift has made it boring and too risk-adverse
> which I think is the opposite problem every other space could have.
> Seriously, I can't even drop in and take a shit without being asked
> what project I'm working on.
> There has to be a happy medium between totally closed membership and
> an open free-for-all space, I don't know what that is exactly.
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