[hackerspaces] So, how much spam do you get?

Arclight arclight at gmail.com
Mon Oct 27 21:54:04 CET 2014

Let's not forget this type of inquiry:

"We're a talent agency seeking enthusiastic, diverse creators to host
the most AWESOME reality show about makers ever. It will be like The
Kardashians meets Junkyard Wars, with a little Jurassic Park thrown
in. .

The ideal candidate will have at least 10 years of experience building
things from scratch that are sent into space, be able to work with an
exciting dynamic team, already have qualifications that probably
enable them to have a steady 6-figure job, and be willing to quit a
moment's notice to work for $24K a year in a 60-hour per week filming
schedule that could end with no notice. Bonus points for having movie
star looks and prior film experience.

To apply, send a resume and a 10-minute, professionally-produced video
to this burner gmail address. Oh, and fill out this 16-page "maker
challenge." Expect to hear from us several times per day until we pick
someone else and this e-mail and skype address get disconnected and we


On Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 1:25 PM, Nathaniel Bezanson <myself at telcodata.us> wrote:
> Okay, the children's puppet shows are a new one, I haven't seen that. We
> usually get:
> A) Crowdfunding spam. SO MUCH crowdfunding spam. Because when Kickstarter's
> community guidelines say not to do a bunch of things, they go and do
> precisely those things. And yeah, project promotion is explicitly welcome on
> our public list, if it has any sort of local relevance, but see, joining our
> public list would mean people might ask questions back, and they're totally
> not interested in that. Just the spam, thanks! (And every single one is
> convinced that nobody has ever crowdfunded a 3d printer or a robotics kit
> before so THEIRS is SPECIAL.)
> B) "Please do my market research for me" or "please do my thesis for me",
> usually with questions about how many investors we have, or whether we feel
> our transformative resource has recontextualized the dynamic millieu of
> hyperlocal fluxmuster ideation.
> C) "We just created a site to make a list of all the makerplaces / 3d
> thingers / communiwhats in the world, but we really mean just the US because
> all the international bits are broken, and now we want you to spend a few
> hours creating an entry on our list which is a 99% mimic of what you've
> already put on hackerspaces.org". It's to the point where simply updating
> our listings on all the various sites we could be listed on, would be a
> full-time job. And when checking back on these things later, invariably they
> end up with *more* cobwebs than the actually-quite-good list on the wiki in
> the first place.
> (Above this line, the true bulk ones. Below this line, the
> specifically-directed-at-us ones.)
> D) "Do you want my rotting barn full of e-waste?" Actually some of these are
> real gems, and we try to be nice to them while directing the majority of the
> real junk to a recycler. Much worse are the ones who just show up with a
> truckload of festering CRTs and pound on the door, or worse yet, unload it
> and flee the scene.
> E) "Do you want to staff our workshop for free? I've never met anyone from
> your group and never set foot in your space on a visitor's night, and will
> refuse an invitation to come do so, but I'll be sure to email you a dozen
> times asking if you have any members who are just made of free time and want
> to come babysit small children in a halfway-maker-related exercise of some
> sort". Actually some of these do sound interesting, but an awful lot of them
> boil down to daycare.
> F) "Can I join as a member and then be cranky when there aren't trainers
> standing by every machine 24/7 waiting to spoon-feed me? I'm allergic to
> reading wikis or otherwise trying to teach myself anything. I really want
> something like Techshop but even more tolerant of needy jerks, but for way
> less than half the price and with more equipment. Also why don't you have a
> blast furnace?"
> G) "We're running a mini maker faire in [town 1,200 miles away], can you
> bring [large project that doesn't travel well] to it?"
> H) "My associates and I are flying in on a private plane next week, and want
> to meet with your early stage investors about the collaborative model and
> how we can bring something similar to [city-redacted]. After doing some
> digging we found your [oldest, and largest in the area] space. We've got all
> the right people leading the tech charge, can we jump on a call? Really hope
> to connect!"
> Okay that last one only happened once, but it's a very close paraphrase of
> the original email and I had to include it for laughs. (Bonus: they seemed
> to be unaware of an also-years-old actual hackerspace right in their own
> hometown. Wow.)
> I'm gonna include, by way of positive example, some of the really GOOD ones
> we get:
> I) "I'm from [not-quite-local area] and working on putting together a group
> that might end up starting a space here. I've read a bunch of stuff on your
> wiki and have a few specific questions, is this an appropriate venue to ask
> for details about a few things? Also I'll be in your area next week."
> J) "My student group is working on a documentary about local DIY resources,
> and we'd like to arrange a time to come do some filming and interviews with
> your members, if that's OK. I've attached our standard talent release so you
> can make sure it's acceptable ahead of time."
> K) "We're a [slightly similar group] in [neighboring town] and it looks like
> people interested in your classes might be interested in ours too. Plus
> we're totally interested in yours. Can we work something out, maybe a
> reciprocal deal? Or let's just see how we can help each other."
> -Nate B-
> Sector67 Team wrote:
> Lol -  and I thought we were special!  I get the exact same set of 4
> requests all the time :-)
> Chris
> Chris Meyer
> Director
> Sector67
> 608-241-4605
> http://sector67.org
> 2100 Winnebago St
> Madison, WI  53704
> On Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 10:51 AM, Alan Fay <emptyset at freesideatlanta.org>
> wrote:
>> It comes with the territory of being a public space.  Freeside gets four
>> distinct types of spam (aside from your typical email spam):
>> 0. "Can you advertise my [product, service, website, kickstarter] to your
>> members?"  Really, what these folks want is an endorsement.  We have an open
>> public mailing list that gets this sort of thing from time-to-time, but they
>> are after is our credibility and access to our platform to sell our members
>> or social media audience on something.
>> 1. "I have an idea but I need a team of people to work for little to no
>> compensation to execute it for me.  Can you help?"  A similar flavor, this
>> person wants to sell us on an idea and get us to recruit on their behalf,
>> for free.
>> 2. "Are your members interested in [paying to attend, or managing and
>> hosting (for free)] a hackathon?"  Companies now use hackathons to spot and
>> recruit talent, and perhaps even manage to develop the start of something
>> with free labor.  So they're looking for everything: credibility, access,
>> and recruitment - for free.
>> 3. "Can I use your space as a venue for [something unrelated,
>> exploitative, or weird], for free?"  Our goto example of this is that we've
>> received not less than three (yes, 3!) separate requests to host children's
>> puppet shows at the space.  Other requests include time-share presentation
>> variants, shooting rap videos, repairing air bags workshop...
>> On Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 10:19 AM, Nathaniel Bezanson <myself at telcodata.us>
>> wrote:
>>> We get/got a LOT of maker-targeted spam to our contact address. Once in a
>>> while, the spammers wouldn't understand BCC, and we'd get a look at the
>>> address list: All hackerspace contact emails. I finally realized that these
>>> folks were just scraping addresses from the hackerspaces.org wiki.
>>> I finally went and changed the contact address on our entry, and the
>>> volume seems to have fallen off quite sharply. A real human trying to
>>> contact us should figure it out in no time. But I wonder whether anyone else
>>> has taken this step, and how many more will be pushed to do so, and what
>>> this suggests for the future of the resource.
>>> -Nate B-
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