I've been putting off dealing with this thread as I assumed it would
cause me to have some form of embolism, but I have to reiterate
Martind's statement from before: Thank you for a reasoned discussion on
the mailing list. This is actually rather lovely.
The meat of this email is going to address issues brought up in this
* 1. Making the space members only aside from Tuesdays
As has been brought up by several people in this thread, without stating
exactly the problem it fixes, or how it does so. It can be a few things,
and I suspect they vary amongst the people supporting it:
a) Non-members using the space too much
We're well on the way to implementing access control that limits all the
major facilities to trained members only, or being the direct guest of
a member. I have a very strong feeling that this will completely kill any
non-members using the workshop unless they have a member working with
them, which is ideal.
Secondarily we need to be identifying people using the space excessively
and prodding them to become members. Recently people have been getting
in touch with the trustees (thanks!) to let us know about offenders and
they have been warned subsequently. This point is addressed in (c).
b) Non-members are making a mess and not clearing up
AFAIK this is entirely true of members too. Limiting tools prevents
this, but it doesn't change the fact that a lot of members seem to like
living in a sty.
c) I hate answering the door all the time
This is three things, firstly we don't channel people towards Tuesday
nights as strongly as a we should, secondly a fair number of members do
not have RFID cards for accessing the space, and thirdly we have some
people who may not be members that need to be encouraged to become
members, either via talking to them directly, or changing the space so
it becomes less useful to non-members.
Note, less useful does not mean members-only. It just means making
elements of the space unavailable without membership or a member who is
I suspect that this is the primary problem we have right now. It seems
silly, but I totally agree that it can be incredibly irritating.
Without further data this becomes difficult to address, so I am pitching
the idea of attaching a sign-in book to the door. If you let someone in
who does not have a card, get them to write their name on the sheet.
This allows us to get a rough idea of people making repeat visits, and
a rough idea of how many are not members.
* 2. Member tool lockdown (Hey, look, I'm on #2!)
I'm going to outline the current plan for this, as it seems many people
do not understand the situation.
In the very near future we are planning to introduce RFID locks to all
the major tools in the space, starting with the laser cutter and 3-in-1.
These will be linked to your member card, and only members will be able
to use the tools.
- To use a tool, place your card in the RFID box to turn it on.
- When you are done with a tool, take your card out of the RFID box.
By default you will not be allowed to use any of the tools unless you
have been trained on it, and your card given access by someone who has
the training bit flipped. This prevents both bad training, and people
who are "really clever" using tools they actually don't know how to
As a secondary, it tells us how often the tool is being used, and if the
tool is damaged (there is a report fault button on the unit) we can ask
the person who was using it before what happened.
I would also like to obtain a small set of lockers to place expensive or
fragile tools/equipment in, mainly to ensure people are using them when
they have been trained. The wood chisels are excellent examples of this.
If you would like to help with this, please get in touch, we need more
people writing code and testing the prototype hardware (which we may
also sell as kits to other spaces).
* 3. New member introductions / Community induction
Right now we are absolutely terrible at bringing new people into the
community and making them aware of how it functions. In this thread we
had a paying member state they didn't know about RFID access, which has
truly hit this home to me.
There is a minimal list of things that need sorting for this:
- A welcome email to be sent to new members, stating how the space runs,
and the rules.
- Ideally a new member manual that can be issued along with this email.
A PDF is fine, but hard-copies in the space would be lovely.
Nottinghack have a beautiful one if you'd like an example of this.
- Every new member should be given a tour of the space by someone, and
this tour should be tailored to the member. Ideally they should be
introduced to people who they share interests with, or people they can
learn from. Right now our tours range from excellent to astonishingly
shocking, I have had to give huge numbers of people a SECOND tour
because the first one told them nothing at all and they didn't
understand what was going on.
- So that implies we need an actual tour guide. As in a guide for people
I genuinely think we should limit tour giving to Tuesday nights, unless
the person has made arrangements to come at another time. It's unfair to
impinge on random members when visitors arrive at arbitrary times of the
day. Ideally I'd like to get a list of people up who would like to
introduce people to the space, and get some documentation written up.
Secondly, it is very hard to get help in the space right now. If you're
a new member you have no idea who to approach, and doing so can be a
scary experience. I'd love to get a h...@london.hackspace.org.uk email
address up that fires off to a group of people who are willing to assist
* 4. Changing the space, talking about the space
I would like to propose monthly state-of-the-space public meetings for
all members, to discuss issues and changes that should be made to the
space. These should possibly not be in the space itself, but that is up
We also need to resurrect the weekly news email that goes to every
paying member, it is an excellent way of distributing information about
the space. We need a high-signal communication mechanism with all our
* 5. Moving space
We have plenty of money in the bank to move space, that is not a problem.
The issue is absolutely around finding a suitable space, as we have very
specific requirements. If you can spare time, please help.
* 6. Everything is broken why is nobody fixing it oh god why
Right now we are having serious trouble maintaining the tools and
equipment in the space, mainly because of the sheer amount of use they
get, but secondarily because people don't say anything when the
equipment breaks, and thirdly people don't help to get it repaired.
The space has money to replace equipment, tools and supplies, it just
requires people taking the time to find a suitable replacement and order
it. Sometimes the trustees are incapable of doing this without member
assistance because we lack experience in the area - see the welder
replacement, we're waiting on an OK-GO from the people who use the
welders that the replacement we found is acceptable.
I would really like to see people stepping up and forming small teams
around tools in the space that they use often - we've already seen this
happen with the laser cutter, 3-in-1 and the internet connection.
I would also like to get standing orders in place for consumables that
we burn through each month, such as M4 bolts and welding gas. This just
requires someone taking the time to make a list and find a supplier.
* 7. (Unspoken) The trustees should be banning/warning more people
We agree. We'd really like to be kicking the bottom of anyone who is
causing problems in the space, and we have been frequently doing so in
the last two months.
HOWEVER, we can't do this without members telling us that something is
wrong, or someone is causing problems. We exist to carry out the wishes
of the members, and unless we are informed nothing will happen.
If you see someone abusing the space, or another member, please email
trust...@london.hackspace.org.uk immediately. Do not assume someone else
has done it, they never have.
TL;DR, but please read the email ^^
- I am against making the space members only, as I do not think it will
solve any of the problems.
- We should stop giving tours on any day except Tuesday unless we have
an arrangement withe the visitor.
- Most tools are becoming members-only, and I think this will get rid of
the few non-member abusers we have.
- We have a lot of MEMBERS who are abusing the space, and are causing
the majority of the trouble. Please tell the trustees when you see
this happening, or they cannot act to resolve it.
- We need to make the introduction to the space significantly better,
and re-induct everyone on the tools when the member locks go in place.
- We need to make sure every member is aware of the rules, and write a
"how to hackspace" handbook as a reference.
- We need to get the equipment in the space back to a minimum usable
level and maintain it.
- I would like monthly public state-of-the-space meetings.
- We need to bring back the hackspace news email to members.
- We really, really need to move to a bigger space.
I've probably missed some things from the thread. Please bring them up
if you think I should address them.