[hackerspaces] Dear hackerspaces, bad news

B F bakmthiscl at gmail.com
Tue Mar 18 14:47:55 CET 2014

So sorry for your troubles.  It has been my experience that if the active
members don't have control of their "club", then trouble ensues.  I think
your core people should form their own makerspace at whatever physical
space you can find (for free or cheap, preferably).  You are better off
building up your own space than continuing under uncertain conditions such
as you describe.

I saw this happen sort of thing happen with a "guild" I was in --not a
makerspace, but an active working group focusing on demonstrating a
handicraft to the public.  This guild worked in a public space -- a museum
in a public park -- run by TWO administrations, one that owned and ran the
park and buildings, and the other charged with running the museum.  It
proved unworkable for our guild.

The minute our group of craftsmen got enough participation and enthusiasm
going to actually start accomplishing things -- things which completely
supported the purpose of both administrations -- BOTH administrations came
down on us like a ton of bricks.  I won't bore you with details, but it was
a "control" issue.  The petty bureaucrats in the two administrations did
not like to see independent thought and action in their (VOLUNTEER!)

Ultimately, we simply up and left and formed our own independent club,
(which soon affiliated with an international organization of similar clubs)
and it has been running smoothly ever since.  (We still demonstrate to the
public and are sought after by institutions and for events around our area.)

(The site has since limped along with quiescent volunteers who have nowhere
near the skill level of those who walked out.  We know and support those
volunteers, we just don't care to share their problems.  That's what they
wanted, and that's what they got.)

It is my opinion that the structure of our club, as outlined in its bylaws,
was key to its longevity.  This structure is not directly applicable to a
makerspace, but some aspects of it -- like who runs it and how -- may be
applicable.   Since I would like to see more volunteer groups succeed in
their goals, I will make the bylaws available to anyone who contacts me

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