Because I don’t think the sheer length of time is actually all that salient to whether we vet people properly.
Psychologically speaking, people arrange themselves on different ends of a spectrum of preparedness (++ Conscientiousness) to reactivity (++ Openness to Experience).
In a 4-week lead-up process, a couple of suboptimal things seem to happen like clockwork:
- The prospective Member doesn’t show up to every meeting in which they are announced. (We don’t ask them to, but it would be better if they did, because then people would be able to attach the face to the name.)
- Existing Members don’t pay a lot of attention to who might become a Member. (We should fix this whether or not we change any lengths of time.)
- Sometimes we collectively forget to have meetings. (How does this affect the prospective Member’s eligibility in terms of proper vetting?)
People who are more driven to preparedness than to reactivity are, in actuality, few and far between in a hacker culture. (I can probably prove this using a Big 5 survey if people are up for it.)
People driven more by reactivity aren’t paying much attention to the 4-week vetting period. I have honestly never seen people pay that much attention to someone’s Membership except at the first week or at the 4th week of being read aloud at the meetings.
To me that means that those 2 weeks in the middle are dead time in which people are more or less invited to stop paying attention. I truly don’t know what we gain from those weeks. I actually think we have something to LOSE during those weeks: enthusiasm.
The 2-week “oh shit” period, to me, solves the question of whether we’ve had enough time to vet a new Member properly. And it places the ball into the court of the greater weight of hackers who are more reactive than conscientious.
I think “rushing” is a matter of perspective. “Too fast for what” is the question I would ask. It’s very worth considering the consequences of continuing to go too slow.
Right now I think we are doing a very poor job of minting new Members, both in terms of bringing many worthy people I can see around Noisebridge in as part of the trust network, and in terms of doing truly attendant work when we vet new people.
Part of that issue is just the simple dearth of Members around to do that work. It takes Members hanging around to show people what Membership actually looks like and means.
No one can be told what the Membership Matrix is. You must be shown.
Noisebridge’s bylaws stipulate that the Membership holds the reins to changing how Noisebridge works. This means that we should be providing adequate ramps to people becoming Members, because at times like these when truly few Members exist who are paying attention, Noisebridge cannot truly be making informed decisions.
You’re absolutely right, though, we would need to start announcing who is up for Membership as soon as the application comes up at the first Meeting. That seems like a great improvement no matter what else we decide to do.