2011/Hacker Dojo: Anarchy with Respect

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Imagine an open source project was an actual place: a place where people volunteer to make something better; contribute their time, knowledge and resources; a place to share ideas or just to get work done. Hacker Dojo is for hackers and thinkers and this session will describe how the open source ethos can successfully be applied to a physical space.

Speaker: Kitt Hodsden

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Contributed notes


- members get access to all events, even paid - only members can put on events (or sponsor others) - everything is communal that shows up except food and monitors if you label them - experimenting

   - staffing? too much commitment. didn't work. disaster.
   - need dojo open when members are here — installed maglock that you get access to after 30 days (kind of like commit access)
   - experimenting gives rapid feedback
   - defining rules
       - people freak out when you say "no rules!"
       - operating under conflicting rulesets
       - didn't want to dictate rules from on high
       - wanted to avoid disenfranchisement caused by not being able to make meeting
       - Led to: polar bear wrestling - rule making sessions
           - proposal for rules due 2 days before
           - must be concrete and enforcable
           - removes central authority
               - don't want a management group if the dojo can manage itself
               - any member has the right and responsibility to enforce the rules
               - really, really hard for some people who need to ask authority

- It's not all good, there are still trolls

   - in real life, there's risk of physical altercation
   - facility is open to guests of members, but also to unaffiliated visitors
   - assume everyone is good until proved otherwise
   - had a homeless guy show up, move his stuff in, and get upset when told that it was no communal — banned
    - things that don't quite fit the space: submit the patch. ( define the project, get people on board, write up budget, develop safety plan, then come back )
   - all talk, no action — tell them to do the work

- politics

   - assume that everyone at the dojo is an adult
   - as open as possible
     - rules are published on the wiki
     - onboarding process
     - monthly membership meetings
     - polar bear wrestling
     - state of the dojo
     - expose finances
     - expose member metrics

- fork it

   - you can start your own
   - code written for the space is online at http://github.com/hackerdojo

- all of this info, including a prerecorded version of the talk at http://ki.tt/osb11

- questions

   - what decision-making process at polar bear wrestling?
     - majority wins. the people who are there are the people who are passionate.
   - how does the board work?
     - write up agenda of short-term and long-term items
     - short-term
       - board can veto any rule that's not in the spirit of the dojo
       - budgeting
   - how many people?
       - 276 members
       - 40 before noon
       - 80ish all day
       - 15 – 200 more for events
       - space holds 350
       - looking at expanding to accommodate cubicles and quiet workspace
       
   - what sort of work is done?
       - a lot of coworking during the day
       - small companies start there
   - access control
       - we don't check IDs, open to the public
       - non-members get slow DSL
   - what kind of space is it, and where?
       - industrial space
       - warehouse
       - giant roll-up door
       - offices with natural light
       - larger areas without 
   
   - space reservations?
       - space is reserved for events
       - 1 of 3 offices is reservable by a piece of paper
   
   - how much go guests pay?
       - $10/day suggested donation
       - (and then you get fast internet)
       - people need to sign in, but don't do other checking
       - really careful not to make rules against the one bad apple, wait for the second
   - how long has it existed?
       Aug 2009 opening
   
   - what's the hardware section like?
       - hardware room is an electronics lab
       - have had people ask to build larger robotics, but this hadn't worked because of no private property/reserved space
       - trying to figure out larger projects
   - why do you call it anarchy and how would other members feel about that term?
       - "anarchy with resepect" tagline came from david weekly, one of the original superhappydevhouse founders. was his fundamental philosophy for opening a hackerspace
   
   - how have you prevented someone from being seen as an authority figure?
       - the community polices its own fairly well
       - people ignore getting bossed around
       - when there are issues, the board has stepped in
       - board members occasionally have been called to come in and solve something (but most times it's been solved by the time they got there)
   
   - costs?
       - $100
       - $40 hardship month
       - work trade option (typically for established members)
   
   - transit? 
       - had to be w/in a mile of caltrain (15 minute walk)