Temporary delegation of space magic powers to the Board members

We are rapidly approaching the time when major decisions need to be made regarding the move to a new space. Many of those decisions require complicated tradeoffs, timing, and coordinated communications which can be made more difficult in the often chaotic and time-consuming environment of Noisebridge. Because these issues are so sensitive, complicated, and critical to the future existence of Noisebridge and its community, I propose that we do the equivalent of voting “order” in Twitch Plays Pokemon: grant space magic powers to the current sitting Board members.

Space magic power is defined as the full and exclusive power of decision making on all real-estate related decisions, including lease/sublease agreements. Space magic power does NOT mean that this group will be the only people who will work on space-related decisions, but rather that they have collective and exclusive automatic consensus on actual decisions made for the space. If, for example, they must act immediately to negotiate or sign a lease, they would not need to go through the Consensus process to do so. The group of persons with space magic powers are granted full authority on how they self-organize.

Space magic power will be removed 6 months from when this proposal is Consented upon, or 3 months after any move to a new space, whichever comes first.

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I hereby support the above declaration of Martial Law.

You should trust Us: this centralization and usurpation of power is Necessary for the Good of Noisebridge.

Anarchism and Consensus are nice in theory, and have worked well in practice, but now that The Crisis is upon us, and moving quickly is of utmost importance, we cannot afford these niceties any longer.

We cannot solve the speed issue by simply Consensing quickly for reasons that are either too obvious to state, or too complex to slow down to explain; I forget which.

Anyone in favor of maintaining the fundamental character of Noisebridge is The Enemy; every dissenting vote, self-nullifying; every dissenting voice, traitorous, for opposing these Urgent and Necessary measures that are, as We like to say, “critical to the future existence of Noisebridge”.

Only with the passage of these emergency powers can We ensure your future liberty.

Let freedom ring! :no_bell:


Consensus could happen quickly, but it also could not, and then shit could get royally fucked. I’m looking at this situation kind of like how various local governments are ordering the shuttering of large events, bars, etc, and how in the coming weeks they will likely quarantine people/city blocks, etc. To wit: corona threatens lives, so they take authority; similarly, corona threatens our existence by threatening our organizational capacity, so it is being proposed that the Board take the authority.

Also similarly: if any sort of governmental martial law/power grab happens after the pandemic has passed, the people will take back their freedom with force; if the board abuses their authority during this period, they will have to deal with me and others, and they will not like that (we will throw you all out).

(NB I say this not even knowing if I’m on the board, since whoever was in charge of elections never got back to me lol :man_facepalming:.)

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I’ll note that the working timeline is 60 days from (roughly) the start of March. So, ending around the end of April. https://www.noisebridge.net/wiki/Meeting_Notes_2020_03_03

With regard to who’s on the board, the meeting notes for 2019-12-10 list the directors as follows:

  • Ruth
  • Tyler
  • Tiffany
  • Lady Red
  • Sir Timothy

Worth noting that I am not terribly tied with the letter of the proposal. It is a compromise, but was what I felt to be the most sensible compromise. It’s a lesser of a thousand evils. Others may feel differently, and that’s fine, but I’d ask for alternative proposals.

The choice of the board was because the alternative would have been just picking people I liked, which is a bad way to do things. A previous proposal was just attendees of general meetings, but that was an even less concensus-oriented approach.

This is all to say that even I am only on board with my own proposal insomuch as there isn’t a more sensible option. Ideally, I’d like to vote down my own proposal because a better idea emerged.

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What does Consensing quickly mean? Same-day meetings with a decision made sans multiple readings and considerations, and no takesie-backsies? Because that’s what’s going to be needed when signing real estate and contractor agreements.

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@jmw That seems like a better emergency short-term measure than handing power over to the Elect Few, no? Like, it sucks for people who can’t show up in person, or who are busy at that time, but we’re running up against real-world constraints and we’ll have to make some kind of compromise on the way we’d like to do things.


Worth noting: the likelihood that meetings are going to be remote when decisions need to be made is VERY high, which means moderation by physical presence is likely to not be as severe as it always has been.

As @fineline has noted: this proposal interacts with TWO extraordinary circumstances that just happen to be coinciding: the move, and COVID-19.

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Agreed, that does change things. On the one hand, people won’t be as limited by being remote. On the other hand, I imagine moderating a large group online and coming to consensus is a lot more difficult. If people with experience disagree I’ll shut up, but I don’t know if that’s actually feasible. Has anyone deveolped procedures for online consensing? (that actually work)

Actual timeline for consensus:

  • Bring up tomorrow at the meeting and add to notes for Tuesday meeting.
  • reach formal consensus decision next week

Total turnaround of 8 days.

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I believe in Noisebridge.

I believe we have a strong community that is capable of making hard decisions under duress.

I do not believe we should put even temporary fiat powers into the hands of the board.

Putting fiat powers into the hands of the board was never the expectation of people who accepted the position of being on the board, and it is not the culture that we have encouraged here at Noisebridge for many, many reasons.

We have decided quickly to take radical action, as a group, under very similar circumstances – the Reboot (2014), when we were in danger of being shut down by the city AND we had a lot of people in Noisebridge who seemed intent on ruining our space (e.g. Hurricane Sid) or rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic (the board).

We are capable of deciding quickly when we need to. Have trust.

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I can handle this.

I moderated online discussions and retrospectives for the 800-person NIH Data Commons consortium in 2018.

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Also, consider this:

We risk just as much loss of time, or more, by seeking to get consensus on this rather than focusing on the essential decisions at hand.

There are significant cultural consequences for this transfer of power (even “temporary”). Blocks and dissent are already evident. How long might it take to get everyone to a Consensus on this?

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Actual timeline for consensus:

  • Bring up tomorrow at the meeting and add to notes for Tuesday meeting.
  • reach formal consensus decision next week

Total turnaround of 8 days.

This assumes that the time of decision to be made also happens on a Monday. If it happens on a Wednesday, that time increases to 14 days (depending on how you count).

Follow up question: what would be we consens-ing on, and is it necessary?

We don’t really have a lot of options (i.e. we have to move). And we only have one lease in hand that we will be reviewing.

I would personally argue that it’s not even a consensus item. It’s like saying Noisebridge is on fire, lets decide whether we should put out the fire.

Blocking this item would mean that Noisebridge just stops existing?

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Is that actually the case? Is the landlord kicking us out, or could we pay rent another month and just not use hot equipment?

Not saying that is desireable, just trying to figure out if there are actually 0 other options

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@qolen That is correct. We could stay longer and not use machines. But in the next 90 days the landlord will start construction within Noisebridge (removing sparkleforge). And that part we can’t really prevent.

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Well put!

The onus is on people who believe there are other options to come up with actionable plans.

Thus far, the “why can’t we just stay” crowd hasn’t come up with a reasonable solution for staying, nor has anyone come up with a workable and timely alternative for a place to move to.

Fair enough. There may be a case for staying at least for a little while there’s a moratorium on evictions and there’s a good reason not to gather to actually perform the move?

Will the landlord be able to carry out the construction while COVID-19 is such a thing?