This Old Noisebridge with Rando

So I found this neat little fort in NB yesterday. This would probably hit the market for about $500/m! Is this a new plan to raise revenue?

Finding this led to chat in the space about pre-reboot forts and why they are anti-patterns.

Some history about the transformation of the Dork Room to the point where it is now. When the private call room was being made, I voiced my concern about making it quiet, dark, and barricadable and said something along the lines of “Ok, but people will sleep there. I disagree with what you are doing, and if people sleep there, I’m going to revert it” and we all kind of agreed.

People DID sleep there, but I still didn’t revert the room. It wasn’t really a chronic problem, the room got used, I used it, it seemed fine.

Yesterday, I found a staircaise built into the ceiling and followed it and found this neat loft. pretty nice! But, to me, it looked like someone made a space where they can sleep and potentially live at NB. Not cool. I had no information about the construction of this little space, no one had announced this change to Noisebridge, so it was left to my perception of intention rather than the builder’s intention. So I asked around to try to figure out what was going on. To be clear, this was way over the line for reasons discussed below. But I still asked around.

I spoke with people about it and learned that the space was intentionally built as a way to make a private area that’s quiet. This begins the problematicness of territorial thinking at Noisebridge. Noisebridge does not contain a concept of “private space”.

Let’s pause and note that there is no place in noisebridge that is only for one person or one group of people. The entire physical space is open to everyone all the time, no matter what, even if tickets are being charged.
You can charge money, but you cannot physically keep people out. This is critical for a number of reasons but mostly because it’s what Noisebridge is.

I learned why the loft builders/users thought it might be OK. Not many people knew about it, and not many people were told about it. By limiting the number of people who knew about it, other people WOULDN’T find it and wouldn’t sleep in it.

It’s good to realize making a private area will create the anti-pattern of sleeping. That should be a sufficient indicator that what is being does doesn’t fit well with Noisebridge’s model of giving free, open access to everyone in the space.

Intentionally creating a space that is only known to a few people, and only accessible to a few people, is cliquey and a real abuse of the shared resource that is Noisebridge. The intentions weren’t exactly bad, but they anti-social, in the sense that they intention was to create a space that wasn’t for everyone. These intentions were told to me directly: that people were not supposed to learn about this space and it was not intended to for use for everyone.

There are a number of instances on 86 where people were banned for this kind of thing. There are cases NOT on 86 where people were banned, then later unbanned. There are discussions all over all of Noisebridge’s wiki, meeting history, and other written history about this kind of thing.

We have lockers and project shelves assumed “personal” use, and even still, those are subject to processes which free up claimed space regularly.

If people want to change the norm, do it actively not secretly. Carving personal (or cliquey) territory out of physical NB isn’t going to work for many reasons. It should never be assumed that a space that looks sleepable or livable will persist.

I didn’t dismantle it, but I really expect it to be gone, or some active discussion to be had about allowing such private spaces and what this kind of territoriality and cliqueishness means in the community and see how people feel about the prospect of people hiding up in that space on a regular basis.