[Discussion] Fwd: Survey Results

Karsten Sperling karsten at sperling.co.nz
Sun Oct 28 00:25:54 NZDT 2018

Here are the results from the survey I posted two weeks ago. The total
number of responses was 12.

Q1/Q2: Most of the responses were from long-time Tangleball members:

   - Member for less than 1 year: 1 (8.33%)
   - 1-3 years: 1 (8.33%)
   - 3-5 years: 1 (8.33%)
   - More than 5 years: 6 (50.00%)
   - I used to be a member but have since left: 1 (8.33%)
   - I'm not / have never been a member: 2 (16.67%) Of these non-members
   one had not visited Tangleball yet, the other had visited 3 times.

Q3: What aspects of Tangleball are most important / relevant / useful to
For each item, the possible answers and their weights were "not relevant at
all" (0), "somewhat relevant" (1), "important" (2), and "very important"

The following is the list of items ordered by their average weighting:

   - Exchanging ideas, teaching / learning: 2.50
   - Living and promoting maker culture / ethos: 2.42
   - Access to the workshop: 2.17
   - Access to the workshop at times that suit me: 2.17
   - Getting advice / help with my own projects: 2.08
   - Working on my own projects by myself: 1.92
   - Access to large woodworking tools: 1.75
   - Collaborating on projects with others: 1.67
   - Absence of too much hierarchy / rules: 1.58
   - Access to electronics tools (e.g. soldering station): 1.50
   - Participating in non-hierarchical self-organisation of the collective:
   - Access to metalworking tools (e.g. milling machine): 1.33

A PDF with the full matrix of responses for this question is available at
The following 3 other items were mentioned in the comments for this

   - Socialising with other people who think this stuff is interesting and
   - A meeting space of like (and not so like) minded individuals that
   (mostly) respected each other and enjoyed each others company. A good place
   to meet great minds.
   - Also specifically access to a big and "dirty" working space (like a
   home garage) to temporarily generate dust, fumes, noise, mess, and to work
   with larger physical objects. Access to tools such as for woodworking is
   important to me, but mainly hand tools, benches, clamps, and consumables
   (timber, fasteners, adhesives, sandpaper, etc) -- and not so much the power
   tools. Access to bike stuff via Tumeke Cycle Space is a major draw as well.
   Although controversial, the avoidance/minimization of commercialization &
   sponsorship is a feature not a bug. Likewise the (aspirational) goal of
   being non-discriminatory.

Q4: Keeping Tangleball open by paying a larger membership fee was only an
option for 3 (25%) of respondents, with 2 saying they would be open to a
weekly fee of $20, and 1 for a $29.

Q5: If Tangleball were to close, would you be interested in participating
in a successor organisation?

   - Unlikely: 0 (0%)
   - Maybe, depends: 5 (41.67%)
   - Probably, but I don't have time/energy to contribute to running it: 4
   - Probably, and I would have time/energy to contribute to running it: 3

Comments for this question:

   - Only if a new organization avoided some of the structural flaws of
   Tangleball that led to it marginalizing women and certain minorities, or
   being inaccessible, too messy, and potentially physically unsafe, etc.
   - The main problem these days is that I live in Hamilton, not Auckland,
   but I'm happy enough to know something like this place exists that I'd want
   to help out if I could.

Q6: The following general comments were submitted:

   - Close current form. Others can form successors, either one or multiple.
   - Tangleball or some successor organization should go on if there are
   enough people who want it to, and are satisfied with how it operates and
   its future potential. But for me, the project has already struggled for too
   long to be the kind of welcoming, accessible, diverse, safe, supportive and
   forward-thinking place/organization I had hoped it would be, despite the
   best intentions of all individuals involved and many successes along the
   way... so I'm over it for good!
   - I saw tangleball slowly die because of the hierarchy's refusal to
   adapt and change to member needs and desires by dismissing their feedback.
   For example, their refusal to allow voting on issues to reach a consensus.
   Instead, they used a "does anyone object approach?" and then would rebuke
   anyone for raising valid issues. Ultimately, this allowed them to maintain
   complete control and keep things the way they wanted instead of abiding by
   their own rhetoric. Tangleball is/was NOT a collective group where each
   party is heard and given an opportunity to say yes or no on important
   topics. Some call it mob rule, but democracy at it's heart is about
   listening to everyone and allowing them to have input and equal power on
   decisions being made. In the end, tangleball is/was not a democratic
   organisation. Over a two year period, I saw the demise of tangleball when,
   the most, valuable and contributing members would depart because they were
   not being respected and/or heard. I honestly do not understand how they can
   justify that reaching a consensus did not require a vote. Nor would they
   would entertain the idea of allowing members to vote on issues. In fact, I
   made a motion that would allow members to vote and was informed that if the
   motion to allow voting was defeated, that nobody could ever raise a motion
   to allow voting in the future. Effectively, they activly discouraged truly
   democratic participation of members in the running of tangleball. In the
   end I believe the demise is/was due to the best members/most contributory
   members leaving because of this, myself included.
   - One of the issues with TangleBall is that it lost some very
   interesting and diverse people over time. I have spoken to numerous people,
   current members, members who have left and non-members who have visited
   TangleBall. One of the resounding messages from these people was that
   TangleBall was extremely political, when it shouldn't be, it's a maker
   space, not anything else. It was difficult for people to join, or remain as
   a member, because their personal wants and needs did not fit with the ways
   of TangleBall. One example of this is the non-commercial, anti-capitalist
   aspect (no sponsorship, etc) nature of TangleBall, this might ring true for
   a few core people, but it's driven many people away. Another thing that has
   driven people as is the decision making process, consensus. In a nutshell,
   it does not work in an environment with diverse people with diverse
   opinions. One person, or small set of people, can derail an initiative that
   others would find useful.
   - For a non-hierarchical organisation I was always surprised, on
   visiting, how much work went into the organising. Compared to other
   makerspaces I've used (in the UK and Netherlands) this seems to be the
   price of avoiding it being financially exclusive. I still think this is a
   nice idea... though it feels like there maybe still needs to be a different
   way to do things.
   - Need one in Hamilton

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