[hackerspaces] dossier pattern

Petr Baudis pasky at ucw.cz
Tue Nov 17 01:25:08 CET 2015

On Mon, Nov 16, 2015 at 11:28:51AM -0600, sheila miguez wrote:
> I have questions about the logistics involved in the dossier pattern.
> https://noisebridge.net/wiki/Hackerspace_Design_Patterns_2.0#New_Hackerspace_Design_Patterns

  I would consider this pattern highly controversial and recommend
to think twice before implementing it.

> Dossier Pattern
> > Problem: The board has received a complaint about a member, but the member
> > says they didn't understand the rules. The board members are new and have
> > no way to know whether the member has been a problem before.
> > Solution: Keep records of all member complaints in a system that is
> > confidential and searchable. Even if someone doesn't want to make a formal
> > complaint, leaving a note can help establish whether there is a pattern of
> > misbehavior and help future boards follow up.

  I just fail to see the problem here.  People have some reputation and
if all people on your board are completely unaware of reputation of your
members, I don't see how you can be reasonably settling any disputes at

  Implement soft security.  Aim to be fair, but (try to) not turn into
a bureaucracy machine.  If you are unsure about past actions, ask
others.  Typically, what they remember and know is more important for
the community wellbeing than what really happenned N years ago anyway.
A fragment of past communication with missing context and misfiled
followup may be just as harmful as having no dossiers.

  In other words, the ability to forget past mistakes is essential for
a healthy environment, even though non-obvious.

> We agree that we'd like to use this pattern, but we are unsure of how to
> implement it. We've had a complicated year, and we'd like to keep some
> records. We've got two general areas that people worry about.
> 1. What to record.
> 2. How to preserve confidentiality and privacy.

  These problems are what various institutions of all governments try to
solve too.  I don't think any has solved it without delineating a clear
"us"/"them" boundary and trusting various people not to leak stuff.
It seems Starfleet will have a pretty advanced access control system :P

  To stay constructive and propose a solution (that sidesteps both
issues) - track just what's a matter of public record anyway.  Meetups
minutes, mailing list posts, ...  No privacy issues, and you might
already have ways to search these.  All important incidents probably
came up on some of these forums, and if they didn't, maybe that's
a better issue to fix to engage your members more.

				Petr Baudis
	If you have good ideas, good data and fast computers,
	you can do almost anything. -- Geoffrey Hinton

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