Abolish membership

You’re describing something close to anarcho-syndacalism. A lot of the exciting guild ideas were based on discussions around that.

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I just discussed with Tyler… actually the electoral college would be a concrete way to implement the above democratic angle using the existing framework- a single member would simply need to agree to be the voice of the non-blocking group of members. Could be guild related or not. Interesting to think about

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Who, exactly? It matters who.

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I agree that the who to trust question matters I’m just not sure reducing the amt of time it takes to make an important decision will help (take Mitch/Lizzie for example). I think spreading the trust over more people is a better solution.

No I am literally asking about these “certain people who were active positive contributors to Noisebridge were denied membership”. Who were they? You asked why “they” were denied membership, but there’s no chance it can be boiled down to a single reason that applies to all of them.

So, who are you talking about?

Well I think Lizzie is a big one. That one resulted in both Lizzie and Mitch leaving Noisebridge forever, which I personally find very sad. (Also I will say that I personally dont view Mitch as gone, although he awkwardly says so in his talks now, since so much of his vision is still here and living well).

Generally membership denial is due to issues of trust right? I thought that was your own statement from earlier. Sorry for the confusion. I would say that it boils down to trust in all cases but I’ve been wrong before!

Personally, I have no interest in ever becoming a member as the system stands. I feel I can contribute without being a member and I have confidence that there are enough existing members and that the institution is in as good of hands as there can be. I also think the existing system for membership has bred distrust and resentment in the community as evidenced by the leaving of mitch, lizzie, beka, and also the denial of membership to Matt. I think a democratic block could help to ease this sense of distrust by spreading the trust over more than one individual at a time. How well can you possibly know an individual by the way, and what is stopping them from changing or developing a new ideology during their life term as member? (not that there is anything wrong with that)

Then you should take the time to understand what actually happened during this time.

The way you are talking makes me think you see the system itself as the cause for people leaving.

What I wish you and others would understand is that Membership was merely a conceptual substrate in which a very broken and fractious community decided to play out its horrific social battles.

Things you should know:

  • Lizzie demonstrated by her actions that she wanted Membership as some kind of prize much more than she wanted the community itself to be healthy. This is a dealbreaker for Membership and people who supported Mitch (like me!) could see that very clearly.
  • Mitch left because he was collectively brow-beaten into accepting mediation with a person (Lizzie) whom he was trying to block for principled reasons – reasons the Lizzie faction decided were invalid because they didn’t trust Mitch (or people who supported Mitch).
  • The system of Membership and Consensus only works when there is trust. Full stop. You cannot FORCE the group to accept someone as a Member.

(Meanwhile, Matt Arcidy’s block remains a mystery because it was Anonymous. I have a belief about where it came from and why it was applied. But that’s not good enough to write here.)

And while you are investigating “what happened”, it will be highly worthwhile for you to consider deeply the fact that in the entirety of 11 years of Noisebridge history, Noisebridge had never had such a schism over Membership. Nor had Mitch Altman EVER before blocked someone from becoming a Member.


I dunno all it takes is once to set things out of balance sometimes. If the system were more democratic and this lifetime block power were spread out over more people, less would be at stake. I dont think it would ruin Consensus as you say, if there was a democratic block available in some capacity. I’m also not sure about the membership as a prize thing or why it should be that way. I guess if it is this ultimate lifetime power then it could be viewed by someone as a prize (or alternatively something to resent), but that’s certainly not a good thing.

I think it should be noted that concecus items and membership consensus are quite a bit different in practice and that has been hard to convey at a number of meetings.

I feel there are very few problems with consensus items and any blocks that happen during that, and that most of the issues form around membership consensus.

I do agree that becoming a member is very much trust based, and I believe it could continue to be, but I do know there are a number of people at noisebridge that have a lot of trust, and have not tried to become members, and that might be a part of the problem.

I am wondering if moving meetings back to 730 and (if we move to Guerrero, if that will draw more of the current membership. if we find a way to anonymously stream the meetings, then we could virtually connect to more members who are not in the bay area.)

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That’s exactly right.

We should be welcoming a lot of really great people already in our midst as Members.

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I believe there are a lot of people who would make ideal members, but who avoid stepping up due to the drama involved. See:

  • Matt blocked
  • Mitch and Lizzie leaving
  • Last major consensus item: allowing more power to block membership
  • This and other threads arguing over membership (and fallout from blocking)

There are a lot of hackers out there that care about NoiseBridge, and I am sure they are happy to do more for the space, but membership just doesn’t seem appealing right now. From what I can see, at least twice in the past year it has forced people to take sides in some argument or another.

From the outside, membership looks like a club that just complains about membership.