[hackerspaces] handling new members

Edward L Platt ed at elplatt.com
Sun Mar 23 21:07:20 CET 2014

At i3 Detroit, anyone with $49 can become a member on the spot.  Most of
the upsides are obvious: easier to become a member, more members.  The
downsides are that a significant fraction of new members never pay a second
month's dues and the treasurer has to track them down and figure out if
they're intending to stay members or not.  Also, it can make it harder to
integrate people into the space, and make sure they're aware of safety
guidelines and how to behave appropriately.  We regularly offer new member
orientations to help with that.  New members also get assigned a "mentor"
(now tracked through SeltzerCRM) to help them integrate and feel welcome.

I know a lot of spaces require new members to meet existing members and get
"sponsored" by some number of them, but there's an often-overlooked problem
with that.  Anyone who sees themselves as different from the current
members (wether it's gender, race, class, or something else) is likely to
feel like an outsider coming in, even if they're not treated as an
outsider.  Asking new members to prove themselves silently pushes away
folks who are different from the current makeup of the group, and can
contribute to "old boy's club" syndrome.  That's one reason I much prefer
mentorship to sponsorship models.


On Sun, Mar 23, 2014 at 12:22 PM, Torrie Fischer
<tdfischer at hackerbots.net>wrote:

> On Sunday, March 23, 2014 15:23:34 Georges wrote:
> > Hi
> >
> > how do fellow spaces handle new members?
> > Has everyone the same rights from the start, like full access to the
> > rooms, voting rights in meetings etc...
> > Or do you have a grace period serving as introduction?
> Here's SYNHAK's:
> https://synhak.org/wiki/Membership
> * We're open to the public whenever a member is at the space
> * Fill out the form
> * Get two sponsors who are current members
> * Drop it in the our wall mounted paper slots by the front door
> * Secretary asks when you'd like interviewed during a meeting and
> announces it
> to the group
> * You come in where we ask you all sorts of questions, then you step out
> * Consensus
> * Pay dues
> Unfortunately this has an easy way for people to get in who don't "get" the
> space culture or values, which is a current issue. Various proposals to
> address it include adding a grace period of sorts and creating a Community
> Working Group to handle interpersonal conflict.
> >
> > Gunstick
> > http://syn2cat.lu
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Discuss mailing list
> > Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
> > http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
> _______________________________________________
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> Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
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Edward L. Platt
@elplatt <http://twitter.com/elplatt>
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